COVID-19 INFORMATION AND UPDATES

(updated 7-2-2020)

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.

Preventative Measures

Community members are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to prevent 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.

MORE INFORMATION

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

https://www.cdc.gov/

PA Mask Wearing Order

Effective July 1, 2020 Governor Wolf expanded the mask order for all Pennsylvanians to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home. This includes during outdoor activities where people are unable to social distance 6 feet or more from others. There are some limited exceptions for children under the age of two, people with medical conditions that prohibit mask wearing,  people whose mouths need to be exposed for lip reading, and those for whom wearing a mask could create a safety problem.

Click below for more details.

https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-sec-of-health-signs-expanded-mask-wearing-order/

Click below to see the mask order

https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20200701-SOH-Universal-Face-Coverings-Order.pdf

Wearing a Mask

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommend that members of the public wear a face covering/or mask when they leave their home. 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.

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.

    People at Risk of Severe Illness

    Anyone can get sick with COVID-19 but some people are at greater risk of becoming severely ill. The CDC now warns that among adults, risk increases steadily as you age. The older people are, the higher their risk of severe illness from COVID-19. But risk in older adults is also in part related to the increased likelihood that older adults also have underlying medical conditions. And,  it’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness.  Those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk.

    Knowing if you or a loved one is more at risk for severe illness allows you to make better decisions for your safety and well being. It also helps all of us to be more aware and to make better decisions about our actions and what we can do to prevent the spread of disease to those who are more vulnerable. According to the CDC those at increased risk include:

    • Older adults
    • Those with underlying medical conditions

    COVID-19 risk related to underlying medical conditions

    Specific conditions increase a person’s risk of severe COVID-19 illness:

    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
    • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes

    Children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.

    The more underlying medical conditions people have, the higher their risk.

    Other conditions that MIGHT increase a person’s risk of severe illness:

    • Asthma
    • High blood pressure
    • Neurologic conditions such as dementia, cerebrovascular disease such as stroke
    • Pregnancy

    Get more details from the CDC regarding those at risk of developing severe illness with COVID-19 using the link below.

    https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0625-update-expands-covid-19.html

     

    Tyrone Hospital Restrictions (updated 6-17-2020)

    In an effort to protect Tyrone Hospital patients, staff and the community from COVID-19, Tyrone Hospital continues to screen all 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  or vendor they will not be permitted to enter or accompany a patient.

    ALL INDIVIDUALS WHO ENTER  TYRONE HOSPITAL MUST WEAR A MASK.

    VISITOR GUIDELINES

    The following Visitor Guidelines apply to inpatients, observation patients, swing bed patients, and surgical patients. The screening process will remain the same and patients and visitors are required to wear a mask.

    • Only One visitor/caregiver per patient, once a day.
    • Visitors must be at least 18 years or older.
    • Once a visitor is screened, a VISITOR badge will be issued and must be worn at all times
    • Vendors are permitted that are active with the hospital may enter after screening (repair of equipment, delivery of supplies, etc).
    • All visitors are asked to sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting both the patient’s rooms and/or the hospital.
    • Once you have concluded your visit, we ask that you exit as soon as possible.
    • Any visitor showing signs of illness will be asked to kindly leave for the safety of others.

    EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITOR GUIDELINES

    • The Emergency Department allows one visitor per patient per visit. Should that visitor leave for any reason, they will be required to be screened again upon entry and stay in the waiting room until the patient’s visit is completed.

      OUTPATIENT TESTING AND TREATMENT- Lab, x-Ray , Anesthesia Clinic, Cardiology Clinic, Orthopedic Clinic, Cardiopulmonary

      • 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 WELL area of the hospital’s main lobby.

      OUTPATIENT SURGERY

      • Only one visitor/companion may accompany a patient to the department.
      • All visitors are asked to sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting the hospital.

          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.

          VENDOR GUIDELINES

          • Vendors are permitted that are active with the hospital and may enter after screening (repair of equipment, delivery of supplies, etc).
          • All vendors are asked to sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting the hospital.
          • Once you have concluded your visit, we ask that you exit as soon as possible.
          • Any vendor showing signs of illness will be asked to kindly leave for the safety of others.
          • No outside representatives or marketers that are not currently active with the hospital will be permitted at this time.

          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 your health provider for instructions.

           

          Venturing Out?

          The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides information to help all us stay safe as we venture out and engage in various daily activities. Use the link below to access things to consider as you venture out, tips for visiting parks and recreational facilities, running errands, using public transportation and more. Use the link below to access the CDC information.

          https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/going-out.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fdaily-life-coping%2Factivities.html

          Personal and Social Activities

          The CDC offers safety guidance for a variety of personal and social activities such as hosting social gatherings and cook outs, visiting nail salons, using gyms and fitness facilities, dining at a restaurant, visiting a library and travel overnight. Use the link below to see the CDC’s recommendations for these personal and social activities.

          https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/personal-social-activities.html

          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

          Travel and Using Public Transportation

          Summer is a popular time for travel and vacations. It is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to be a health concern in communities throughout the United States and throughout the world. It is important for all of us to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and to help prevent the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides valuable information  for those considering travel outside of their home community, tips to prepare for travel, tips for how to protect others and yourself when traveling, steps to protect yourself when using public transportation and travel considerations by country for those who may be considering a trip outside of the U.S. Click the link below for information.

          https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html

           

           

          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