Rush Oak Hospital has issued new visitor restrictions as two of its emergency room doctors have tested positive for COVID-19. The restrictions went into effect March 16 and will remain in place until further notice. The two doctors are safely quarantined at home, away from patients and colleagues.
According to a statement issued by the hospital, "One physician had not been seeing patients for several days prior, when he would have been contagious. The other may have had patient and peer contact and we are assessing the overall risk of exposure, working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and advising patients and peers as appropriate."
The statement also said that the "cases were likely community acquired."
"The Rush Health System employs 12,000 people. All of our staff throughout our system have been trained on infection protection protocols – standard procedures of handwashing, gowning, masking and more as advised. Those staff who are dedicated to our COVID-19 assessment, screening, testing and treatment areas, and in our emergency rooms, have even more protection from infection, but spread is inevitable as this moves into our communities," the statement continues.
Due to the evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Illinois, the hospital has implemented a stricter visiting policy, no longer allowing visitors in many inpatient and outpatient areas. Visitors exhibiting flu-like symptoms should not visit patients.
"As we continue to fight on the front lines of this global pandemic, this is an important reminder of the critical need to dramatically adjust our routines and do all we can to minimize the spread of this novel coronavirus," the hospital said in its issued statement.
Hospital-wide restrictions include barring anyone under the age of 12 from visiting. Visitors are also not allowed in adult inpatient units, unless the patient is critically ill or near the end of life. In those instances, the hospital's care team will manage the number of visitors. Patients in hospice can have visitors "per Journey Care leadership discretion."
Adult patients undergoing operations may also have one visitor throughut the duration of surgery.
New regulations to the hospital's outpatient visitor policy allows patients one support person in these circumstances: patients in outpatient clinics, patients having outpatient patients at the hospital for outpatient laboratory or radiology therapy, and patients in the emergency department.
Children under the age of 12 do not qualify as a support person. The restrictions reiterated that visitors with flu-like symptons should not visit patients.
Rush Oak Park Hospital remains dedicated to safely combating the spread of COVID-19.
"In these uncertain times, one thing is for certain," the hospital's statement reads. "Staff in our healthcare systems are heroes for providing comfort and care under difficult circumstances with a highly transmissible disease."
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