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ROCKY MOUNT — Due to the growing spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in North Carolina, Nash UNC Health Care enacted restrictions for visitors, vendors and volunteers at its facilities effective Saturday. Visitor restrictions are a set of precautions the hospital takes to prevent the spread of illness to patients, visitors and staff.
“Our top priority is always protecting the safety of patients, visitors and our staff,” said Lee Isley, Ph.D, president and CEO of Nash UNC Health Care. “As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop rapidly, we feel this is an important step to take in reducing spread of the virus in our community.”
Effective immediately, one designated, screened visitor per patient for the duration of the patient’s stay will be permitted in the majority of patient areas at Nash UNC Health Care. Pediatrics and the Women’s Center will allow two designated, screened guardians per patient. The psychiatry and behavioral health areas will prohibit all visitation with the exception of child psych/adolescent areas, on a case-by-case basis. No visitors under age 18 will be allowed to visit for the foreseeable future.
Additional exceptions will be granted for end-of-life situations at the discretion of the care team.
In the coming days, hospital officials will be further restricting access by limiting entry points across the campus. All visitors to Nash UNC Health Care may be subject to health screening at any time.
VENDORS AND CONTRACTORS
Only vendors and contractors who are essential to patient care and business operations will be allowed onsite on an as-needed basis. Vendors and contractors who do not directly support patient care and critical business operations should work remotely and will not be allowed in Nash UNC Health Care facilities until further notice. Vendors and contractors may be subject to health screening at any time prior to entry or while onsite.
Volunteers are extremely important to the function of Nash UNC Health Care, officials said, but it’s equally important to protect the health of those volunteers and those with whom they come into contact. Hospital volunteers who do not directly support essential business operations should not report to Nash UNC Health Care facilities until further notice.
Students should not visit Nash UNC Health Care until further notice unless they are deemed necessary for essential business operations.
In addition to the restrictions outlined above, community events, activities and meetings hosted at Nash UNC Health Care will also be canceled until further notice.
No visitors, vendors, volunteers or students active with fever, cough, cold or flu-like symptoms should enter Nash UNC Health Care facilities. Personal masks will not be provided. These visitor restrictions may be tightened further as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
“We want our community to know that our hospital is prepared,” said Isley. “We are in constant contact with UNC Health, partnering with our local and state health departments, and coordinating with the CDC guidelines regarding the novel coronavirus. The management of contagious disease is part of our organization’s robust emergency management plan. Isolation and treatment of patients with potential coronavirus — or any communicable disease — is something our teams are trained to handle while also maintaining a safe environment for other patients and our staff.”
Symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus include feeling sick with fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing.
If you have these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, then the best plan of action is to self-isolate at home and call the N.C. State Health Department’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Call Center, at 866-462-3821. From there, the health professionals will be able to help you determine the next steps.
For emergent medical needs, calling 911 or going to your nearest emergency room is appropriate, but calling ahead is strongly encouraged. Calling ahead will help the emergency department route you through the appropriate entrance and allow the staff to prepare for your arrival in order to reduce exposure to other patients and staff.