Memorial Health limits entrances, screens visitors for COVID-19

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the nation makes changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19, local hospitals like Memorial Health have adopted new processes to screen patients and limit entrances.

As of Sunday, March 15, the hospital said they have not received any patients who have tested positive for the new virus.

Memorial Health administrators say they want to keep it that way — that’s why they’re making sure they stay ahead of the virus by implementing new guidelines.

The main goal is to protect patients, visitors and caregivers.

“Visitors and families can expect that they will be screened before they enter the physical building so just outside of our entrances we will have staff members who will meet them and greet them and find out why they’re coming to the hospital,” Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Thacker with Memorial Health said.

Effective Monday, March 16, the hospital will be limiting additional entrances. Changes are as follows:

  • ER (24/7)
  • Monday – Friday
    • Main Hospital Entrance (5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    • Heart & Vascular Institute (5 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    • Day Surgery (4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Weekends
    • Main Hospital Entrance (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    • Heart & Vascular Institute (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Additional visitation restrictions will be implemented:
    • Only one well adult visitor per patient at all times
    • Visitation hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Children 18 and under will not be allowed to visit

“Special consideration will be given to those in critical care, neonatal intensive care unity, maternity center and at the Children’s Hospital, on a case-by-case basis,” the hospital stated.

Thacker said in some cases, lax screening methods have led to some health professionals and others being exposed to the virus. Memorial Health hopes to avoid that by making visitors answer a series of questions before they are allowed entry.

“Do you have a fever, do you have a cough or trouble breathing or shortness of breath and then also still importantly have you had travel to areas of the world where COVID-19 is still rapidly spreading,” Thacker said.

He said it’s a precaution — not a sign of panic. They’re asking that visitors be honest during the screening process to protect everyone.

“The goal here is to ensure that those who might share or spread the virus get the care they need,” Thacker said.

Memorial Health is in contact with their sister hospitals in Chatham County and believes they will follow along with a similar plan.

News 3 reached out to St. Joseph’s/Candler to find out what precautions they are taking in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

They said they are currently screening patients for COVID-19 by asking about recent travel history or contact with people who might have traveled to countries with sustained COVID-19 transmission. They are also checking patients for fever, cough or shortness of breath.

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