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.