~ Press release issued by Valley Health
WINCHESTER – Valley Health System has implemented precautionary measures at its hospitals, long-term care facilities and outpatient clinics to protect the health and safety of patients, residents, and staff from the potential presence of COVID-19 in our community. At this time, there have been no positive tests for the virus in Valley Health’s service area.
“Our system-wide team has been actively engaged in preparation and contingency planning for several weeks, with input from state and local public health departments, the CDC, CMS, and state hospital associations,” says Mark H. Merrill, Valley Health President and CEO. “We have put measures in place to ensure residents receive appropriate and effective care, while ensuring the safety of all our patients, long term care residents, physicians, and staff. This is a very fluid situation so we ask for the community’s understanding as we respond to new developments.”
If You Have Symptoms
COVID-19 causes symptoms that may range from mild to serious. Because it is highly contagious, Valley Health and its public health partners in Virginia and West Virginia request the community’s help to limit potential exposure to the virus.
If you have traveled outside the U.S. and are experiencing symptoms including fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, or think you have been exposed to Coronavirus, please do not go directly to your doctor, urgent care center or hospital emergency room.
Do the following:
- Call your state health department’s toll-free line:
In Virginia: 1-877-ASK-VDH3
In West Virginia: 1-800-887-4304
- Follow the instructions provided by your state health department.
If you meet the criteria for testing, they will direct you to a site of care to be seen by a physician and, if indicated, have appropriate testing.
- If you are severely ill and must call 911, share your concerns with the 911 dispatcher, EMS and Emergency Department staff before making contact with personnel.
Hospital Visiting Restrictions
Valley Health hospitals have curtailed visiting to two-hour periods mid-day and again in the evening. Visitors must be 18 or over, healthy, and wear a Visitor badge. For details, including exceptions for Mother/Baby and end-of-life care, visit valleyhealthlink.com/coronavirus
Long-Term Care Visitation Restrictions
Valley Health has implemented additional precautions to safeguard vulnerable residents at its three long-term care units, following most recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Visitation has been curtailed and community outings and large group activities have also been suspended out of an abundance of caution.
At Lynn Care Center in Front Royal, VA, visitation is strictly limited to healthy authorized care partners only. In the event of an emergency, visitation will be handled on a case-by-case basis with each visitor complete a screening process, which includes questions about current health status and recent travel, prior to entering the unit. The resident council is working diligently to ensure that each resident and family feels supported and confident that their loved one is being cared for in the safest possible manner.
At Hampshire Memorial Hospital, in Romney, WV, and War Memorial Hospital, in Berkeley Springs, WV, visitors will be asked to complete a screening process, which includes questions about current health status and recent travel, prior to entering the unit.
We understand that staying in touch with loved ones is vitally important to long-term care residents and hospitalized patients, but we need to do all we can to keep COVID-19 away from our residents, patients, staff and their families. We encourage family and friends to remain in touch with their loved ones through other means of communication, including telephone, mail, email, text, Skype and FaceTime conversations.
Out of an abundance of caution, Valley Health is cancelling all public events held on its hospital campuses, as well as those sponsored by Valley Health and held at outside locations, through April 30. This includes VHS-sponsored functions (conferences, educational classes that are not part of a patient’s treatment plan, screenings) and those sponsored by outside organizations and held in our facilities (support groups, etc.).Visit valleyhealthlink.com/coronavirus for updates.
“Our Valley Health team is committed to protecting our workforce, patients and the wider community from preventable exposure to this virus,” said Merrill. “We are prepared to use telework options for staff who are able, telehealth consults for patients with suspected COVID-19, and are employing technology in other ways to help minimize risk.”
Visit valleyhealthlink.com/coronavirus for updates on Valley Health’s response to COVID-19.
For more on the criteria for Coronavirus exposure, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html