2020-3-23

VCU Health CMH Update For our patients — your safety is our top concern

(March 20, 2020) “We are an acute care hospital and dealing with infectious diseases is something we are prepared to do every day,” said Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

Because of the magnitude of this world-wide pandemic, we are taking extra precautions with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  Our staff is fully prepared to care for patients at all times and have expertise in dealing with illnesses of all kinds.

At VCU Health CMH patients are screened and those who meet the appropriate criteria for testing are then tested for the Coronavirus.  Once the swabs are collected they sent to either the Virginia Department of Health or Lab Corp, which are the only two labs approved in Virginia to run the tests.  Work is currently under way for hospital labs to get approved for analyzing the samples collected.

“I want everyone to know that we are taking all the necessary precautions to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, but we also want people to understand that with proper precautions most people have a low risk of contracting COVID-19,” he added.

He continued, “We are asking people to practice social distancing – as in do not interact with others closely unless absolutely necessary. It is recommended that people keep at least six feet of distance from others to provide additional safeguards against the Corona (COVID) virus. Washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds is also vital in combating the virus.”

Burnette said many precautions have been implemented to make sure VCU Health CMH is doing everything possible to confront the challenges the Corona virus presents. Among those changes are a large number of temporary restrictions and closures, all done to prevent the spread of the virus, not because the virus is rampant in Southside Virginia and Northern North Carolina.

Among those changes are:

All non-urgent appointments that were scheduled with CMH providers will be rescheduled with consultation with our patients. CMH Family Care, Chase City Primary Care and Clarksville Primary Care will continue to be open as a resource of primary care physicians that can be contacted for guidance on appropriate care for people that are having symptoms related to COVID-19 or other serious illnesses.  The Emergency Department is open as usual for emergency cases.  In addition, elective surgeries that can be postponed will be, again in consultation with the patients.

Routine visitation is suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, visitors and team members.  For everyone’s safety, no visitors will be allowed who:

  1. Have any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing
  2. Have returned from any of the COVID-19 high-risk countries or regions within the last 14 days
  3. Have been exposed to COVID-19
  4. Are children under 16 years of age

Other visitor restrictions: We recognize that there are times when having a visitor present is crucial. In these cases, visitors will be allowed based on the exceptions listed below provided they are not already excluded by the symptoms, age or exposure restrictions identified above. In general, visitors should limit visits to common waiting areas and maintain social distance to prevent sick individuals from coming in close contact with healthy individuals, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

1.       Visitation is between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. effective Saturday, March 21st.   

2.       Adult patients: Only one visitor per day.  All others will be asked to wait for updates outside of the medical facility. Patients at the end of life may have two visitors after discussion with the patient care team.

3.       Pediatric patients: 2 visitors per day.

4.       Obstetrical patients: 1 visitor per day.

5.       Patients undergoing surgery, procedures, or other testing: 1 visitor per day.

6.       ER patients are limited to one visitor.

7.       Visitation to patients with suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 will be through telecommunication.

Additional precautions:

  1. We ask everyone to take extra steps to ensure good handwashing.  Ten handwashing stations have been placed outside the entrances to the following locations and we ask that everyone please wash their hands before entering buildings:  main hospital, Emergency Department, C.A.R.E. Building, Leggett Center, Cancer Center – Medical and Radiation Oncology, Chase City Primary Care, Clarksville Primary Care and VCU Health at Tanglewood.
  2. Visitors who are required to wear a mask to enter a patient room will be provided with only one mask per day, to be used in the patient room.

“We understand this is a difficult time for our patients and visitors, and we appreciate your help keeping our loved ones and our community safe. Working together, we are confident that these measures will help us succeed with managing the spread of COVID-19 while balancing the visitation needs of our patients,” Burnette continued.

The Hundley Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken action to aggressively respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In order to comply with CMS mandates, nursing homes nationwide implemented restrictions and The Hundley Center at VCU Health CMH complied by suspending all visitation.  Residents have access to a private phone in their rooms.  To reach a resident, please dial (434) 584, followed by the number 4 and the three digits of the resident’s room number.  Our goal of protecting the health of each resident is of the utmost importance during this unprecedented situation.

Programs/Services Closure Updates:

CMH Family Dental Clinic, CMH Medical Fitness Center, Screenings & Support Groups

The CMH Family Dental Clinic closed March 18 and will tentatively reopen on March 30 for urgent and emergency visits only.

The CMH Medical Fitness Center will close Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. and a determination on when it reopens will be made at a later date.  Services affected by this closing include both aquatic and land-based fitness classes (The Matter of Balance Classes have been rescheduled beginning in August 2020). The cancer rehab services that operate within the center have been suspended.  Outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services will remain open at this time, but with restrictions.  The cardiac rehab and pulmonary rehab programs that operate within the C.A.R.E. Building are still open, but also with restrictions.

All blood pressure clinic screenings, support groups, and scheduled public education events have been cancelled until further notice.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  As of today (March 20, 2020) there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County.  For an official case count in Virginia (and locations of cases), please visit the Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.

For more information on our preparations, please visit:  vcuhealth.org/covid-19

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a call line established for COVID-19 questions, the number is 877-ASK-VDH3.   (877-275-8343)

Immediate action needed to protect our communities

Vidant Health and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University are calling on all of eastern North Carolina to do their part to flatten the curve. We need to act quickly and definitively. When you watch what is happening in other communities and are scared about what you see, you should ask yourself a few questions: Will it hit my own community? Why can’t we stop this? What should we do? These are difficult questions, but the answers are clear.  

This pandemic has turned into a wave that is rolling across our country, hitting our state and threatening eastern North Carolina. The data are clear: it has started to impact our region and the problem continues to grow.

We can’t stop this wave from hitting us. However, we can lessen its impact here and now in eastern North Carolina. The question is whether we will take the necessary actions to reduce the spread of the virus. When you see the disasters affecting communities around the world, you are seeing the towns, cities, regions or countries that did not take action to slow or stop the wave. What you don’t see are the ones that are not suffering as much. The ones whose health care system is able to respond to the demand. The ones whose economies are already recovering. These are the stories of the communities who took the actions to slow the wave. What we do now will determine our story.

The fact is we have a short window of opportunity, as the virus is moving much faster than we normally make decisions. We know the story and outcome if we do nothing more – we see it on the news and on social media every day. We know from history that bold and definitive actions can change the course for the better.

Hospitals throughout North Carolina have and continue to take measures to respond to the COVID-19 wave. This includes all nine Vidant hospitals serving eastern North Carolina. It is time for communities to make similar definitive and decisive decisions to protect our region.  

Each of us has a responsibility to act immediately and to take action to help our communities respond to this crisis. Now, more than ever, we need every person, organization and government agency working together to protect our loved ones.

Practice social distancing, stay home as much as possible, call before visiting a health care facility if you have a fever, respectfully encourage others through social media to do their part. These actions, combined with every day hygiene habits like proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing into the crook of your arm and cleaning surfaces, will help us flatten the curve and keep our loved ones healthy. 

We are calling on local officials throughout eastern North Carolina and the state to take more decisive action in response to this crisis to include making the bold and right decision to ask North Carolinians to shelter in place. This means staying close to home as much as possible and only going out if absolutely necessary, such as buying groceries or picking up medications. This is the right thing to do to save lives and is the right thing for our long-term economic interests. Community members must encourage the political bodies to be decisive, take action now and then support them. 

We would also like to thank all health care workers and every person on the front lines for their tireless efforts to care for those in need. This is a difficult time for doctors, nurses and care teams. We stand ready to care for those in our region, but we need local communities to do their part.

We are confident we can flatten the curve. However, we must all stand up together, as one community, to get through this crisis.

Michael Waldrum, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Vidant Health

Mark Stacy, MD, Dean, Brody School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, East Carolina University

Subscribe to RSS - 2020-3-23