COVID-19 INFORMATION AND UPDATES

Tyrone Regional Health Network/Tyrone Hospital is closely monitoring developments associated with COVID-19. We have implemented measures and modified our operations for the safety and wellbeing of our patients, our staff and the community. We are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and other authorities to help reduce/stop the spread of illness.

Community members are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from illness as well as spreading illness to others.

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue that you discard or cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Clean surfaces often.
  • Wear a mask when going out in public and when around other people.
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid sick people.
  • Social distancing is also recommended with people advised to stay 6 feet away from others and limit their contact in public and in crowds to reduce exposure and the spread of illness.

Signs & Symptoms of  COVID-19 include:

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

    Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness.

    This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

    When to Seek Medical Attention

    If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

    This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

    Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

    Wear a Mask

    Governor Wolf has asked members of the public to wear homemade cloth or fabric masks if they must leave their home. Effective April 19th PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine ordered all essential businesses permitted to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic have their workers and customers wear a mask. This is to help protect people from the spread of COVID-19.                                                             

    Save surgical masks and N95 respirators for our health care workers and first responders. Remember this saying: “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.”                                                                                                                               

    Wear a mask when:

      • Shopping at essential businesses, like grocery stores or pharmacies
      • Visiting your health care provider
      • On public transportation
      • Interacting with customers/clients at essential businesses
      • Feeling sick, coughing or sneezing

    Use the link below to review a chart showing different types of masks and how they should be used.

    Mask Chart

    Use the links below to access additional information about how to make, wear, clean and remove a mask, learn about the different types of masks and who should wear each type of mask.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

    https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Stop-the-Spread.aspx

    Watch the video below with instructions from Dr. Jerone Adams, U.S. Surgeon General providing instructions on how to make a no sew mask very easily with items you may have at home.

    Tyrone Hospital Restrictions (updated March 24, 2020)

    In an effort to protect Tyrone Hospital patients, staff and the community from COVID-19, Tyrone Hospital is now screening individuals who enter the hospital. Screening is as follows:

    A mask will be worn by the person preforming the screening.

    Temperature will be taken at time of entry.

    The Following questions will be asked:

    • Are you coughing, sneezing, have shortness of breath or flu like symptoms?
    • Have you traveled Internationally or traveled in the last 14 days to areas experiencing transmission of COVID-19?
    • Have you had contact with anyone suspected of or positive for COVID-19?

    If  anyone has a fever greater than 100.4 or answers YES to any of the above questions.

    • If they are a visitor they will not be permitted to enter or accompany a patient.

    ALL INDIVIDUALS WHO ENTER  TYRONE HOSPITAL MUST WEAR A MASK.

    OUTPATIENT TESTING AND TREATMENT

    • Only one visitor/companion may accompany a patient.
    • The visitor/companion may not accompany a patient to treatment or testing areas.
    • One companion is permitted to accompany a patient, IF the patient needs assistance.
    • The visitor/companion may wait in their car or in the hospital’s main lobby waiting area.

    SURGICAL PATIENTS

    • Surgery patients must be screened prior to registration.
    • Many surgical patients require a driver. One companion may accompany a patient having an outpatient surgical procedure.
    • The person/companion that comes with the patient must also be screened.
    • Please be aware that depending on the circumstances, the person who accompanies the patient  may be asked by our staff to find an alternative place to wait, such as your vehicle.

    EMERGENCY ROOM PATIENTS

    • One person may accompany patients seeking care in the emergency room.
    • Emergency room patients will be screened by the Emergency room triage nurse.
    • Individuals who accompany an emergency room patient must also be screened.
    • Individuals who accompany emergency room patients may be asked to wait in their car in the hospital parking lot or at an off-site location of their choice, if the patient doesn’t require your presence. In this case emergency department staff will obtain your companion’s phone number to contact them when your emergency department visit is completed.
    • In the circumstance where the emergency room patient is a minor, child or senior citizen, the companion may stay.

    INPATIENTS

    • No visitors are permitted on the inpatient Medical/Surgical/ICU unit, except for special circumstances.

    END OF LIFE CARE

    • Visitors may be permitted.

    Community members are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from illness as well as spreading illness to others. Wash your hands often. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue that you discard or cough and sneeze into your elbow. Don’t touch your face. Clean surfaces often. Stay home when you are sick and avoid sick people. Social distancing is also recommended with people advised to keep 6 feet of space between them and to limit their contact in public and in crowds to reduce exposure and the spread of illness.

    TESTING FOR COVID-19    RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE PA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    If you are a patient who wants to be tested

    Stay home if:

    • You are feeling mostly fine
    • You are worried

    Stay home and call your doctor for advice if:

    • You are feeling sick, but would not have sought care under normal circumstances.

    Call your doctor or seek medical care if:

    • You feel sick and believe you have an emergency.
    • If you do not have a provider, call your local health department or 1-877-PA-HEALTH

    COVID-19 TESTING AT TYRONE REGIONAL HEALTH NETWORK (TRHN)

    Patients who are under the care of a TRHN primary care provider (Tyrone Rural Health Center, Houtzdale Rural Health Center and Pinecroft Medical Center), have had positive exposure and are symptomatic for COVID-19, may be tested after consultation with your provider.

    Please contact your primary care provider for help in determining if you need to be tested for COVID-19. See the chart/guidelines from the PA Department of Health Regarding testing for COVID-19.

    https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Symptoms-Testing.aspx

    Testing performed is a swab test.

    Swab testing will be billed to your insurance. The cash pay cost is $64.50.

    If you feel you may have been exposed to COVID-19 please call our offices for instructions.  To limit exposure to others we ask that no patients enter the offices.  Parking lot appointments are currently being offered for both patient and staff safety.

     

    SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

    In combination, symptoms of the COVID-19 virus include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath

    The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

    PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. /use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow do not use your hands!
    • Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched surfaces.
    • Contain- if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

    MORE INFORMATION

    Visit https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

    Contact the crisis text line by texting PA to 741-741

    https://www.cdc.gov/

    COVID-19 AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

    The warm weather months are here and many of us will be spending more time enjoying the outdoors.

    The Pennsylvania Department of  Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) offers guidance on how we can all enjoy the outdoors while keeping ourselves and others safe by taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    The best advice to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, biking, or running is allowed if social distancing is maintained.  While enjoying open spaces, remember to avoid groups and crowds.

    Under the stay-at-home order, DCNR strongly encourages people to recreate at a park or trail that is nearest to their home. Look for locations within 15 minutes of your home.

    People should not travel outside of their community to other outdoor locations across the state, such as state parks, forests, private camps, leased campsites, etc.

    Use the link below for information on enjoying the outdoors keeping COVID-19 in mind.

    GuidanceOnSpendingTimeOutdoors

    TRHN Physician Offices Offering Telehealth Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

    Posted March 30, 2020

    The primary care practices that are part of Tyrone Regional Health Network (TRHN), which includes, Tyrone Rural Health Center, Pinecroft Medical Center and Houtzdale Rural Health Center now offer patient appointments using telehealth services. The telehealth services are available to patients as an option and are in addition to the traditional in office appointments offered.

    Telehealth is the use of technology such as videos and phone calls to connect healthcare providers and their patients.   It allows patients to connect with their health provider for assessment, treatment, monitoring or education from the comfort of their own home. This is accomplished using technology that most people use daily such as a cell phone, laptop computer, desktop computer, ipad, a streaming service or other device.

    Amy Vereshack, Vice President of Outpatient Operations who oversees TRHN’s primary care practices said the safest place for people to be right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, is in their own home. “Now, we have the technology to take care of people there. Most of us are already very accustomed to calling the doctor’s office if we need guidance for symptoms that we develop or need a prescription refill. Telehealth really expands on that type of exchange by adding video so you and your doctor can actually see each other,” said Mrs. Vereshack. “We can do most of what we normally do in the office over a video call.”

    The doctor’s office communicates with patients in advance of their telehealth visit to provide access instructions. Telehealth visits have a copay just like normal offices visits. For patients who do not use electronic devices, they can talk to family members or friends to see if someone they know has a way to help them make a video call.

    If through the video call it is determined that a patient needs to come to the office in person or needs to see a specialist, the doctor’s office will make a plan for that with the patient.

    The communication between doctor and patient through the video call is secure to insure patient privacy.

    Most insurances pay for telehealth visits just as they do for in office appointments.

    In addition to the telehealth service, TRHN’s primary care offices have implemented additional procedures for patient protection and safety as follows:

    When patients call to make an appointment staff will ask if you believe you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been exposed to the virus, have traveled to a high risk area, or if you have any symptoms like cough, fever or shortness of breath.

    For patients who need to visit the office for a face-to-face appointment, separate waiting and treatment areas are designated for patients who are well and those who are sick.

    Patients with signs or symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, fever, positive exposure history or positive travel history will be seen in the parking lot. Patients will be given a dedicated cell phone number to call upon arrival and nursing staff and providers will see patients in the parking lot in order to minimize exposure.

    To limit the number of people who enter the offices, patients are asked to please come to their appointment alone, if that is possible. One person may accompany a patient if the patient is a minor or if the patient has a caregiver who is essential for communicating with the patient’s provider. Anyone who accompanies a patient but does not need to remain with the patient during their appointment will be asked to wait in their vehicle.

    For patients are scheduled for a routine follow up, a telehealth visit will be completed instead of a traditional face-to-face visit in the office until the COVID-19 crisis resolves.  Our staff will be contacting patients to set this up.

    Patients who use the patient portal provided by TRHN’s primary care offices will receive information about the telehealth services and the new procedures that have been implemented via the portal.

    For more information or to make a telehealth appointment please call any one of TRHN’s primary care offices.

    Tyrone Rural Health Center (814) 684-3101, Pinecroft Medical Center (814) 940-8195 or Houtzdale Rural Health Center (814) 497-4297.

    Community members are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from illness as well as spreading illness to others. Wash your hands often. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue that you discard or cough and sneeze into your elbow. Don’t touch your face. Clean surfaces often. Stay home when you are sick and avoid sick people. Social distancing is also recommended with people advised to limit their contact in public and in crowds to reduce exposure and the spread of illness.

    People should also be aware of the signs of COVID-19 which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

     

    Changes at TRHN Primary Care Offices

    The primary care practices that are part of Tyrone Regional Health Network (TRHN), which includes, Tyrone Rural Health Center, Pinecroft Medical Center and Houtzdale Rural Health Center want to make their patients aware of some changes that the offices have made to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

    Amy Vereshack, Vice President of Outpatient Operations who oversees TRHN’s primary care practices said all three offices remain open and are scheduling patient appointments. Mrs. Vereshack said some new procedures have been implemented based on guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. “We have made these changes for the safety and wellbeing of patients, the office staff and the community.”

    New procedures that have been implemented at the primary care offices include the following:

    When patients call to make an appointment staff will ask if you believe you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been exposed to the virus, have traveled to a high risk area, or if you have any symptoms like cough, fever or shortness of breath.

    Any patients with respiratory illness symptoms including fever, runny nose, cough and/or shortness of breath will be given a mask to wear throughout their office visit or appointment.

    To limit the number of people who enter the offices, patients are asked to please come to their appointment alone, if that is possible. If it is necessary to have someone accompany you to your appointment, please bring only one person with you.

    Patients who use the patient portal provided by TRHN’s primary care offices will receive information about the new procedures that have been implemented via the portal.

     

    Tyrone Hospital Prepares for COVID-19

    Tyrone Hospital is closely monitoring the ongoing developments related to COVID-19 and has taken steps to prepare.

    “Our priority is the safety and well being of our patients, our employees and the community,” said Heather Lane RN, Assistant Director of Nursing and Patient Safety Officer at Tyrone Hospital. “We are following the readiness guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and we receive frequent updates from both organizations.”

    Mrs. Lane said readiness and infection prevention practices are a way of life for hospitals. “With the current coronavirus circumstances we are being even more vigilant for example, making sure we have extra supplies on hand, taking extra steps with cleaning and sanitizing throughout the facility, and we have had all staff review infection prevention practices as a refresher.”

    There are a few common questions that community members are asking hospital staff related to COVID-19 testing and care.  One common question people are asking is if testing for COVID-19 can be completed at the hospital or their doctor’s office upon request.

    There are specific guidelines that we are instructed to follow for testing, said Mrs. Lane. If a person presents with symptoms associated with COVID-19, which per the CDC are fever, cough and shortness of breath, that person is tested first for the more common causes of those symptoms such as flu. If the common causes are ruled out then they would be tested for COVID-19.

    People are asking hospital staff how many test kits the hospital has and how many tests the hospital can perform. Mrs. Lane said the hospital actually does not do the testing. The procedure for hospitals and physicians is to collect specimens following very specific guidelines. The specimens are sent to the PA Department of Health and they analyze the specimens at their lab for COVID-19.

    Community members have also asked if they should go directly to the emergency room if they develop the symptoms associated with COVID-19. Mrs. Lane said generally, if a person has mild symptoms, they can contact their physician. If they are having more severe symptoms and/or difficulty breathing they should visit the Emergency Room.

    If you do visit your doctor or the emergency room, let the reception staff know why you are there. Let them know if you  have been in close contact with anyone who has had the virus or traveled in an area where there is widespread known cases of coronavirus. You may be asked to wear a mask and placed separate from other patients to help reduce the spread of illness to others. Your treating physician will determine if your illness requires admission to the hospital or if you can recover at home. You may be instructed to self-quarantine at home and if you are you will be given instructions.

    Community members are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from illness as well as spreading illness to others. Wash your hands often. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue that you discard or cough and sneeze into your elbow. Don’t touch your face. Clean surfaces often. Stay home when you are sick and avoid sick people. Social distancing is also being practiced with people limiting their contact in public and in crowds to reduce exposure and the spread of illness.

    People should also be aware of the signs of COVID-19 which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

    Keep updated on developments and access a wealth of information on COVID-19 by visiting the web sites of the CDC

    Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC   and the PA Department of Health Coronavirus. On the PA Dept of Health web site you will find posters and other items you can share or post as a reminder to yourself and to help make others aware of how to care for themselves and reduce the spread of illness