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WellStar enforces visitor restrictions

WellStar Health System, along with WellStar West Georgia, announced Sunday that it will be limiting entrance to its hospitals, health parks, urgent care centers, ambulatory practices and long-term care facilities to essential personnel only.

“The CDC is now requiring all patients and visitors to be screened before entering any hospital as a precautionary measure for the coronavirus (COVID-19),” said SVP and WellStar West Georgia Hospital President Coleman Foss. “To comply with this new measure and provide adequate staffing, the main entrance to the lobby and the emergency room entrance are the only two entrances open to the public right now. There are staff stationed at each entrance to oversee the screening process for patients and visitors.”Assistant Nurse Manager, Will Carson said they will be screened for their temperature, review of symptoms and travel history in regards to the coronavirus.

“We are a doing a screening of all visitors and patients who enter the hospital, in an effort to keep all of our patients and staff members safe,” Carson said. “If you are screened, you are free to go visit with family members [in the hospital], just make sure to be using handwashing stations throughout the hospital.”

Visitors with a positive health screening or travel history will be requested to refrain from visiting patients until they have been self-quarantined for 14 days or all symptoms have been resolved to protect our patients and team members.

No visitors will be allowed for people under investigation (PUI) or positive for COVID-19. Visitors with extenuating circumstance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“Anybody who has answered yes to any of the questions, there’s concern for a possible positive in them,” said Dr. Chad Skidmore. “The first we look at in triage is if they’re clinically stable, if their temperature is really high or if they are having trouble breathing. As long as they are clinically stable, they are to self-quarantine at home.”

According to Skidmore, the WellStar website offers telemedicine and patients can see a virtual doctor to help avoid visiting the hospital and possibly infecting others.

“Preliminary testing is available at our facility,” Skidmore said. “It’s only for patients meeting our criteria that have to admitted.”

Skidmore said that not just anyone can walk in through the door and get tested for the COVID-19 virus and that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) would test further.

“To date, there have been no cases of coronavirus here,” Foss said. “The new CDC screening for patients and visitors is a precautionary measure only.  Please help us reinforce this message with your family, friends, neighbors and at your workplace. Please be assured there is no cause for concern, but we are merely following CDC guidelines to keep our community healthy.”

Additionally, Manager Patient Experience nurse Julia Cox Pearson said that masks are no way to prevent the disease.

“You don’t need a mask,” Pearson said. “A lot of the times it makes you so hot that you start touching your face anyways. Just keep your hands clean.”

According to a press release from WellStar Health System, the facilities are still available to provide care to all other issues.

“WellStar has a really good plan in effect as far the screening of patients and making sure they get care,” Carson said. “The community is safe. We are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of infection and in the event [of a coronavirus case] we have someone here to help.”

In addition the hospital all Wellstar Physician Offices, long term care facilities: Florence Hand, Twin Fountains, Vernon Woods and Hospice also have screening and visitation guidelines in place.