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:
New Visitor Restrictions Starting March 25th
Effective Wednesday, March 25th, visitors are NOT allowed within Clarke County Hospital unless the visitor is a designated caregiver or the patient falls into one of three categories listed below:
Designated caregivers must be free of any signs of illness and go through a health screen before entering the hospital. Individuals at high risk for disease (e.g., underlying cardiopulmonary disease, poorly controlled diabetes) should not visit.
- The patient is an infant or small child. In this case only one designated parent/caregiver may be present in the room to support care of the patient.
- The patient is suffering from confusion or delirium or the patient is a dependent adult. In this case one designated caregiver may be present to support the care of the patient.
- The patient is imminently dying.
Designated caregivers must:
All persons entering Clarke County Hospital will be screened and have their temperature taken. The Main entrance is the only general public entrance into the Hospital.
Designated caregivers are required to wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand foam/gel upon entering and exiting patient's room. Staff members will provide instructions if additional PPE is required.
- Always remain in patient room. No congregating in the hallway.
- Limit movement within the facility and avoid common areas
- Free from illness such as fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, vomiting or runny nose
- 18 years of age and older
We understand these visitor restrictions may be difficult. While we are committed to providing a family-centered care environment, right now restricting visitors is in the best interest of our patients, staff, and community.
Clarke County Hospital would like to thank the community for their cooperation in this effort. For up-to-date information related to COVID-19, please visit clarkecountypublichealth.org.
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.