EAMC to enact temporary ‘No Visitors’ policy for most departments starting tomorrow

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NO VISITORS

EAMC has made the difficult decision of announcing a NO VISITORS policy starting tomorrow morning (Thursday, March 19) EXCEPT for Pediatrics and Level 2 Nursery (2 primary caregivers), laboring women (1 primary support person), Emergency Department (1 visitor, ED lobby only) and end-of-life circumstances. However, if the attending physician or nurse manager determines that a support person is needed, the family will be contacted to make such arrangements. 

“This temporary change is not a step we wanted to make,” said President and CEO Laura Grill.  “However, with Lee County now having the second-most COVID-19 cases in Alabama, we feel that it is extremely important to use this tactic to help flatten the curve of cases.”

Notice to Employers

Our Emergency Departments at EAMC and EAMC-Lanier are receiving individuals who are expressing that they have one or more of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and that their employer is requiring them to receive a COVID-19 “test” before returning to work. Please know that we cannot “test” every person who comes to the ED with these symptoms due to the limited number of supplies available for use for specimen collection. Also, pleased understand that “testing” means that a specimen is collected and sent to either the ADPH or an independent lab to determine if the person is positive or negative for COVID-19.  Such collection kits must be reserved for patients who meet “screening” criteria for “testing.”  People with symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and/or fever can contact their physician or 334-528-SICK for “screening.”    

Lee County Cases now at 8

The ADPH announced this afternoon that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lee County had grown to a total of 8, up from 3 this morning.  That is the second most among Alabama’s 51 cases.  Three of the cases are from specimens that EAMC submitted to ADPH or to an independent lab.  And since more collections have occurred in the past few days, hospital officials expect more confirmed cases for Lee County in the coming days. EAMC does not know of any possible connection between the cases.

SCREENING AND TESTING

As of 3 p.m. today, our 334-528-SICK hotline had received 397 calls today.  We have 12 lines being answered. Hours for the hotline are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • At EAMC’s drive-through collection center at HealthPlus, we had collected 140 specimens as of 5 p.m.  That brings our total this week to 240. 
  • Specimen collection will continue on Thursday, but as a reminder, they are by appointment only.   
  • Plans are to open a collection tent at EAMC-Lanier on Friday.  It will have limited hours and appointments still have to be made through 334-528-SICK.
  • Regarding screening and collection of samples, here’s what the public needs to know:
    • People having MILD symptoms should treat COVID-19 in a similar way they would the seasonal flu, except not to use ibuprofen.  Speak with a pharmacist about which over-the-counter medicines are best for you.  Also, isolate yourself from family and friends.     
    • People who feel they need medical attention should contact their primary care physician or other local provider. 
    • If the medical provider determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, they will collect the specimen there and submit to ADPH or to an independent lab.  If the physician’s office is out of supplies or do not have the ability to collect, the patient can call 334-528-SICK for evaluation.   
    • Calls to 334-528-SICK should be used when exhibiting the COVID-19 symptoms and possible emergent care is needed.
    • Calls to 334-528-SICK does not guarantee a COVID-19 specimen will be collected and submitted for testing.  Instead, patients will be screened on the phone and if the medical provider on the phone determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, directions will be provided on going to EAMC’s drive-through collection center.

Blood Donations Must Go On

EAMC receives 100% of its blood supply from the LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, with the vast majority coming from the blood center on the main EAMC campus (505 E. Thomason Circle, Opelika). The blood supply in America is facing an unprecedented challenge due to COVID-19. Large numbers of blood drives are being cancelled daily and donors are increasingly practicing social distancing, as they should. Hospitals are likely to see critical shortages of blood products occur in the near term if the trajectory does not change. While shortages are not severe today, a critical blood shortage of all blood types will occur if donations simply stop.

If you are healthy and able, we encourage you to call the local LifeSouth office at 334-705-0884 to schedule an appointment.  LifeSouth is limiting the  number of donors in the center at one time so as to keep donors and staff at appropriate distances.  They are doing the same at their blood drive buses.   Below are LifeSouth’s hours of operation:

Monday and Thursday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.

EAMC Apothecary offering curbside pickup

Beginning Thursday at 8 a.m., EAMC’s Apothecary will be providing curbside pickup of prescriptions outside of The Surgery Center on the back side of the hospital.  A station will be set up there from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.  Payment for prescriptions will be by credit or debit card only; no cash will be accepted. If someone is picking up a prescription outside of these hours, they will need to call 334-528-2293 to arrange pickup.  The Apothecary is EAMC’s retail pharmacy that is open 24/7. 

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