It’s an understatement to say that COVID-19 is on all our minds. It is part of all news reports and conversations that we have with our family, friends and co-workers. Our concerns about the virus are valid but those concerns should motivate us to be prepared rather than frightened.
With the goal of pre-emptive preparation, a community Incident Command Task Force was activated on March 2nd. Clarke County Emergency Management, Clarke County Public Health, City of Osceola, Clarke County Hospital, Southern Hills Specialty Care and Law Enforcement have developed a plan and related protocols that address the potential arrival of COVID-19 to Clarke County.
Following guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as internal policies and procedures from the organizations involved, the plan addresses:
- Communication and Education
- Infection Prevention & Control
- Diagnostic Testing
- Emergency Services Safety & Support
- Supply Chain Logistics
The COVID-19 situation is fluid and the Task Force’s preparation will be adjusted accordingly as new information is received. We want to assure you that we are preparing for the possible arrival of COVID–19 to Clarke County.
The most important issue right now for our community is to make sure we are getting up to date and factual information about COVID–19. Many media outlets, social media sites and individuals have created panic within some segments of our population through the spread of misinformation and rumors. We all recognize that COVID–19 is a health threat throughout the world. However, preparation and implementing proper prevention criteria will go far in limiting community spread in Clarke County.
Patients Accessing Our Facility
CCH will begin to inform the public that patients who are experiencing flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, congestion, sore throat) should call the Hospital prior to coming in to see a provider. The patient will be asked several travel screening questions, and based on the risk assessment, they may be given specific instructions on how/where to enter the Hospital, Emergency Department, or Clinic.
Changes to the Visitors Policy will be updated as necessary. Here are the current rules and restrictions:
- No one will be permitted to visit who exhibits signs or symptoms of an influenza-like illness, which includes a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with cough, or sore throat. Visitors with certain other symptoms, such as runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, vomiting, or diarrhea should also postpone their visits
- Visitors must be in good health and must be 18 years or older (includes siblings). The number of visitors may be limited. Staff in the Emergency Department and Med-Surg may restrict the number of visitors at any time to two (2) people.
- All visitors are required to wash hands with soap and water, or use alcohol based hand foam/gel upon entering and exiting a patient's room.
Auxiliary and Volunteer Services
All volunteer services at Clarke County Hospital have been suspended. Our volunteers are individuals that may be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and suspending volunteer services is a preventative measure to protect our wonderful volunteer team. Volunteer services will remain suspended until further notice.