Hospitals taking precautions, preparing for COVID-19

MIAMI COUNTY — With the first two cases 0f the coronavirus now linked to Miami County, the counties’ two hospitals continue to work diligently to provide safe health care to the community.

Kettering Health Network Chief Clinical Officer Brenda Kuhn said KHN, which has the Troy Hospital, has testing kits that meet the CDC requirements, however testing requires a physician’s order.

Beginning Tuesday, Premier Health, which includes Upper Valley Medical Center, made COVID-19 testing available to those who have a physician order with them for a COVID-19 test to be performed. This is being accomplished through a drive-through collection site at the University of Dayton Arena. According to Premier Health officials, staff served more than 200 patients on the collection site’s first day of testing. On Wednesday, the Clark County Combined Health District held a joint press conference with Miami County Public Health to identify two individuals — one male, one female — both linked to Premier Health’s Koester Pavilion nursing home, that have tested positive for the virus. The 62-year-old woman was taken to UVMC for treatment, according to public health officials.

Both KHN and Premier Health have protocols for handling multiple types of infectious diseases, according to officials, and they will continue them as long as it is needed to protect both patients and staff.

“We have been preparing for COVID-19 and have implemented a network incident command structure so that we can continue to care for our community. We are following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, treatment, education and assessments,” Kuhn said. “We are reviewing our readiness and supplies throughout our network, knowing that we will adjust and deploy resources when and where the need arises.”

Protocols also are in place at their facilities, according to Premier Health Vice President of Quality and Safety Dr. Roberto Colon.

“We have been ensuring that any hospitalized patient with risk for COVID-19 is maintained in an adequate level of isolation and that all health care personnel use CDC-established precautions to maintain safety during care moments. Every Premier Health facility has an established plan to safely and efficiently assess any patient with potential COVID-19 as well as to safely manage these patients during the acute phases of care.

“We have also established protocols to help maximize the availability of personal protective equipment for our providers who care for patients with potential COVID-19. In keeping with our usual practice, patient flow through the hospital for any patient will continue with the goal of providing the safest and most expeditious care possible to ensure our facility is ready to provide care to any patient in need,” Colon said.

According to officials, consistent with actions by the state of Ohio, UVMC/Premier Health have discontinued salad bars, moved to more “grab and go” foods for their staff, have discontinued seating in cafeterias and have sought to minimize in-person meetings as much as possible.

Kuhn said the biggest extra precaution KHN, which has had one confirmed case at its Kettering location, has taken is the restriction of visitors to its facilities. Premier Health also has taken the same precautions set by the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA).

“We know it may be an inconvenience, but with hundreds of people on our campuses daily, it’s essential to protect our patients and ensure their well-being, safeguard our hospital workforce and limit the community spread of COVID-19,” Kuhn said.

Premier Health officials suggest those who believe they have symptoms of COVID-19 should call their primary care physician or make a virtual visit, and not to go to the ED, which is for those in need of the most critical care.

Kuhn agrees.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of practicing physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings. This will save lives,” Kuhn said. “At home, it’s important to practice good hygiene, hand washing with soap and water, and if you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, dry cough and shortness of breath), that you self-quarantine and can also call the Ohio Department of Health’s Hotline at (833) 427-5634.”

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Premier Health Imaging Department employee Summer Carey mans the entry to the Emergency Department at Upper Valley Medical Center on Wednesday to insure that those entering the ED have only one visitor before gaining entry. Carey, like many of her co-workers, has been helping in areas outside their usual specialty during the COVID-19 crisis. Health Imaging Department employee Summer Carey mans the entry to the Emergency Department at Upper Valley Medical Center on Wednesday to insure that those entering the ED have only one visitor before gaining entry. Carey, like many of her co-workers, has been helping in areas outside their usual specialty during the COVID-19 crisis. Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today
Those with symptoms should reach out to doctor, ODH hotline

By Melody Vallieu

AIM Media Midwest

Visitor restrictions

Following Ohio’s state of emergency declaration, Kettering Health Network and Premier Health — in conjunction with the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) and its member hospitals — has strengthened the region’s existing visitor restriction policy for hospitals and emergency centers in 11 counties (Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby and Warren). Visitor restrictions for COVID-19 have been developed with the support of GDAHA’s COVID-19 Taskforce and input from the region’s infection control experts.

Restrictions for both KHN and Premier Health hospital facilities, both inside and outside Miami County, are as follows:

• No visitation by anyone who is ill with seasonal flu or COVID-19 symptoms including: shortness of breath, coughing, fever, chills, headache, vomiting, sore throat, muscle aches or diarrhea.

• Patients will be allowed one visitor per day, as long as that person is over the age of 14.

• When visiting a patient, visitors will be asked to primarily remain in the room with the patient.

• Maternity patients may have one partner and one birth support person, for a total of two visitors.

• Patients who require assistance due to mobility, interpretation or healthcare decision making may have one additional support person, for a total of two visitors.

• Emergency Department patients may have one support person.

• Surgical or procedural patients may have one visitor.

• Exceptions can be made for end-of-life situations and other special circumstances and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.