LEXINGTON, Ky. — CHI Saint Joseph Health is actively monitoring new developments related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kentucky and across the United States. As the situation evolves, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East are tightening visitation even further.
Since the beginning of the flu season, the hospitals have implemented seasonal restrictions and those are still in place. In light of the COVID-19 situation, the hospitals are reinforcing those restrictions and taking additional precautionary steps. The facilities will allow only one designated visitor over age 18 to visit patients in all units. Access to the hospitals will be limited to the front entrance from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily or through the Emergency Department 24/7.
In the maternity and NICU areas of Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East, visitors will be limited to parents and grandparents without a fever or runny nose. Only parents will be in allowed to visit the NICU.
Continuing Care Hospital, a long-term acute care facility inside Saint Joseph Hospital, is implementing even stricter restrictions due to the higher risk associated with COVID-19 to the patients it serves. CCH will allow only one approved visitor for the duration of a patient’s stay and is limiting visitation to 6-8 p.m. each day. Visitors must meet screening guidelines and wear gown, gloves and masks during their visit. Visitors will not be able to leave the patient area and then return.
People with a fever, cough, sore throat or other flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to visit. Anyone who has traveled to a high risk area for COVID-19 or had contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 will not be allowed to visit patients in the hospitals.
In addition, patients who come to the hospital for surgical services or outpatient testing will be screened at the entrance, as will patients and the designated visitor in the maternity and NICU areas. This will include checking each person’s temperature. All patients and visitors in maternity will be required to wear urgent/emergent surgery masks in designated areas, including prep, surgery and recovery units.
“Our top priority at CHI Saint Joseph Health is the safety of our employees, patients, visitors and communities,” said Dan Goulson, MD, chief medical officer for CHI Saint Joseph Health. “We are making these changes out of an abundance of caution.”
Similar to instances involving Ebola, SARS and MERS in the past, CHI Saint Joseph Health is working with CommonSpirit Health and public health departments at the state and local levels, as well as with local governments on community response.
CHI Saint Joseph Health advises patients to avoid emergency rooms unless symptoms are severe, such as high fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Patients should contact their regular health care provider by phone first if they are experiencing symptoms like cough, low-grade fever or other respiratory issues.
Goulson offered standard precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently; it’s one of the most important steps in avoiding not only COVID-19, but also other illnesses, including the flu. And if you’re sick, stay home. If you develop a fever and lower respiratory symptoms such as a cough, talk with your physician or care provider.
For more information on how to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, visit www.chisaintjosephhealth.org/novel-coronavirus.