Georgetown Community Hospital Implements Zero-Visitor Protocol

March 25, 2020

Dear Patients and Visitors,

Out of abundance of caution and to help ensure the safety of our patients, providers, employees and community, Georgetown Community Hospital is implementing a zero-visitor protocol effective Thursday, March 26 at 6 am until further notice. The following exceptions include:

  • Obstetric (OB) patients may have one WELL partner over the age of 16 accompany them.
  • Pediatric patients may have two WELL parents or guardians during their hospital stay.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have up to two WELL visitors for the length of time cleared by the attending physician. If requested by the patient or family, one WELL clergy member is allowed.
  • Patients with altered mental status, cognitive impairment, developmental delays or disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care, may have one WELL visitor.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or an interventional procedure may have one WELL visitor and the WELL visitor must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the surgery or procedure.
  • Patients who are being seen in the emergency department, have a laboratory order, or diagnostic radiology appointment are not allowed to have a visitor with them unless there is an exception made by the administrator on-call. If mobile assistance is needed, a transporter will be available.
  • We ask all family and friends of emergency department patients to remain at home or in the car. If a visitor presents with an emergency department patient we will kindly ask them for a contact number and have them wait in their car instead of the waiting room. The only exception is during an immediate life threatening situation determined by the emergency department provider. One WELL visitor will be allowed during this circumstance.   

Additional exception requests will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the administrator on-call.

To prevent the spread of illness, visitors who are cleared are expected to do the following:

  • Must remain in the patient’s room at all times.
  • Must immediately leave the hospital once leaving the patient’s room. Visitors should not wander through hallways or spend time in common areas of the hospital, including lobbies, waiting areas, and vending areas. 
  • Limit the number of personal items brought into the hospital.
  • Must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer EVERY time entering and exiting a patient room.

As alternatives to visiting a patient, we recommend family and friends connect with patients by phone, laptop or tablet.

Restricted Entry and Screenings

To protect our patients, employees and providers, we have limited access to our hospital to only the ER or main hospital entrance. All other entry points are closed until further notice. The main hospital entrance is open Monday through Friday from 7 am – 4 pm. The ER entrance is open 24 hours a day. Before entering, every individual – including patients, visitors with exceptions, employees and providers – are being screened based on potential respiratory symptoms and travel history, per CDC guidelines. Based on the screening, individuals may be asked to take their temperature, speak further with someone, or come back at a later date. Screening will occur upon every entry.

Common Areas Closed

We have closed our common areas, such as the gift shop, chapel, and cafeteria, as another step to minimize the risk of exposure to patients, visitors, employees and providers. Our cafeteria will continue to operate for patients, employees and providers only.

We know that these increased precautions may seem concerning. We do not want to cause alarm – but we do want to send a clear message to our community that we are prepared, responding appropriately and are committed to protecting the well-being of our patients, visitors, employees and community.

These increased safety measures do NOT mean that you cannot access the hospital or your providers. Please seek medical care as needed. And if you are concerned you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call your provider in advance of going to his or her office. Of course, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room.

Georgetown Community Hospital values the trust our community places in us, and we appreciate your understanding as we shift our visitation policies during this time.

For details about our COVID-19 response, please visit GeorgetownCommunityHospital.com/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Preparedness-Information.

Sincerely,

William Haugh

CEO

Georgetown Community Hospital