ONTARIO — As of Wednesday, Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario has implemented a big change to its entrances. This includes locking some entrances altogether and a screening protocol for patients and visitors to the hospitals prior to entering.
The Ontario hospital is among the facilities that will implement this change, as well as the centers in Baker City and Nampa. The change is to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in hospitals, where many people are at risk.
“At Saint Alphonsus, the health and well-being of our patients, colleagues, physicians, providers and community is our top priority,” a news release from Saint Alphonsus states. “The rapid and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires that we continue to exercise an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and well-being of all who enter our hospitals.”
Main hospital entrances will remain open during normal business hours, while other entrances will be locked and signs will be posted to show where to go.
All routine visiting has been suspended except for certain patient groups, including pediatrics, maternity for the birth of a child, neonatal ICU, critically ill patients in ICU, certified medical interpreters and end-of-life-care, according to a news release regarding overall changes at the facilities in the Saint Alphonsus Health System.
There will still currently only be one visitor allowed per patient at a time, and no one under 18 will be allowed; in addition, any visitors who are sick will be provided a mask and asked to return home or seek medical attention.
The hospital encourages staying in touch through technological means, including FaceTime and Skype.
Other changes being implemented by Saint Alphonsus Health System at its facilities include drive up respiratory screening in Meridian with additional locations – including its Fruitland facility – being considered, a triage hotline for online doctor visits, and postponement of elective and non-emergency surgeries and procedures, according to a March 18 news release.
When it comes to non-emergency and elective procedures and surgeries, officials in the health system have decided to postpone all of them until further notice.
“All these actions are being implemented out of an abundance of caution to ensure access to critical resources required for the care of all patients in our facilities. It is necessary to protect patients, hospital staff and visitors from acquiring or transmitting COVID-19 while under our care,” according to the release.
“As the region’s most advanced Level II trauma center we will continue to perform urgent and emergent surgery and procedures, including those that if delayed would have significant medical deterioration or materially impact the patient’s prognosis, morbidity or treatment plan, as determined by the patient’s surgeon.”