Hospital tightens visitor restrictions

With a few exceptions, no visitors will be allowed at Allen County Regional Hospital starting Friday morning. Elective surgeries have been canceled and Senior Life Solutions group therapy suspended. Plans continue to develop a drive-thru testing site.

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March 19, 2020 - 4:17 PM

Allen County Regional Hospital will further tighten visitor restrictions starting Friday morning amid efforts to limit potential coronavirus exposure to staff and patients, particularly the elderly.

No visitors will be allowed at the hospital with a few exceptions:

• One parent or guardian for pediatric patients (17 and younger)

• One support person for labor delivery

• One support person for those with disabilities or impairments

• One support person or driver for outpatient surgery

• One support person for critically ill patients who may be at the end of their life.

Hospital staff will continue to screen patients for things like symptoms of illness or those who have visited an area known for coronavirus exposure. Any visitor who meets that criteria will not be allowed in the hospital and are asked to call head to their physician or the hospital, rather than simply walking into a healthcare facility for treatment. ACRH officials recommend the patient calls from his car to await further instructions or the assistance of staff.

Efforts to restrict visitors began earlier this week, and have gradually tightened. Most visitors are patient and understanding, Patty McGuffin, chief nursing officer, said. 

The hospital also closed its cafeteria to the public earlier this week.

ACRH canceled elective surgeries and suspended the Senior Life Solutions outpatient therapy group as of Tuesday morning.

Urgent and emergency surgeries are continuing. The purpose of canceling elective surgeries is to reduce traffic to the hospital and to preserve necessary supplies, including personal protective equipment, McGuffin said.

EFFORTS continue to develop a plan for drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Allen County, McGuffin said. She will announce plans as soon as they are ready.

Allen County has a limited supply of testing kits, but they are not yet facing a shortage as some hospitals around the country have reported.

But because tests are limited, healthcare professionals will screen patients to determine who best fits criteria for exposure to COVID-19. Physicians may order a variety of other tests, such as for influenza or strep throat, to rule out other illnesses first.

Healthcare providers throughout the county are working together to share equipment, including personal protective gear like masks, gloves and gowns.

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