Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, please contact Haywood County Public Health Services.

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Haywood Regional Medical Center Novel Coronavirus (COVID–19) Media Statement

Haywood Regional Medical Center (HRMC) is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to work closely with Haywood County Health & Human Service Agency and following guidance from the NC Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure our hospital is prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19). Additionally, we are reviewing our facility’s robust emergency operations plan and proactively completing a number of preparation checklists out of an abundance of caution.

While we have not evaluated or treated any patients with this virus at our hospital to date, HRMC has taken the following measures to prepare, in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • Patients in the Emergency Department and inpatient units are screened based on their recent travel history.
  • Personal protective equipment is available, including face masks and eye protection, for example.
  • Hand hygiene products are easily accessible throughout the facility.

We are evaluating patients in the Emergency Room and our inpatient units following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we have not yet had a patient test positive for COVID-19.

We want to assure our community that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of viruses and infectious diseases, including the coronavirus.

For more information, visit the Haywood County Health & Human Services Agency’s Public Health Services website at haywoodcountync.gov/417/Public-Health, visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.


COVID-19: What Haywood Regional Medical is Doing and What You Can Do

It probably feels as if coronavirus – or as it is officially known, COVID-19 – is all anyone is talking about these days. As COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses like the seasonal flu continue to spread across the U.S., you also may feel a certain level of concern over how this disease could affect you or your loved ones, or if your local healthcare provider is prepared to respond to any local cases that may arise. That’s certainly understandable and natural. We want to provide you with essential information outlining what we are doing to stay prepared and offer you guidance on what you can do to help protect yourself, your family and our community.

What we are doing

Haywood Regional Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors at all times. While COVID-19 is new, effectively responding to other infectious diseases is not. We have tested processes and plans in place to respond to situations involving infectious disease year-round. Here is what we are doing to stay ready and effectively respond to COVID-19:

  • We continue to work closely with the Haywood County Health & Human Services Agency and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that we are prepared with appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to COVID-19.
  • We have a robust emergency operations plan in place and are reviewing and proactively completing a number of preparation checklists out of an abundance of caution.
  • We have hand hygiene products easily accessible throughout our facility.
  • We are screening patients in our emergency department, inpatient units and outpatient clinics based on CDC guidance.
  • Staff treating a potential COVID-19 case are provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to help prevent exposure.
  • Patients with respiratory or COVID-19-related symptoms are immediately provided masks to wear to help prevent exposure to others.
  • In the event that we identify a potential COVID-19 case, we will follow all CDC guidelines for placing that individual in isolation for their care and for the protection of other patients, employees and visitors.
     
  • We have implemented visitor restrictions at our facility as follows:
    • With the health and safety of our patients, families, employees and community in mind, effective at 12:00 noon on March 20, 2020, Haywood Regional Medical Center has temporarily suspended all inpatient visitation to our facility.
    • HRMC will work with extended families who have special circumstance, such as critically ill or injured family members, on a case-by-case basis. Signage is being posted around the facilities notifying the community of these new restrictions and guidelines.

    • Though Haywood Regional Medical Center has not yet had a positive case of COVID-19, these restrictions and changes are necessary to protect the health of patients, staff and community. Check the hospital website for updated information and follow the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and CDC for reputable updates

    • We are closing additional areas commonly accessed by the public, including the Café and Health and Fitness Center. Cardiac Rehab and Physical Therapy will continue to be held in the Fitness Center unless otherwise notified.

  • In addition, also in accordance with recent guidance from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and North Carolina Healthcare Association, we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent cases for 30 days when deemed clinically appropriate. Patients whose appointments are being rescheduled have been notified, and procedures will be rescheduled as soon as feasible. We are continuing to schedule new cases beyond April 19.

Importantly, rescheduling elective and non-urgent cases:

  • Conserves essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontline staff members;
  • Conserves hospital and ICU beds, supplies and other resources; and
  • Ensures we will have all necessary personnel available to support our sickest patients.
  • In addition to rescheduling non-urgent or elective cases for the next 30 days, we have made the difficult decision to reschedule non-urgent outpatient services, as clinically appropriate. The outpatient care teams will be responsible for evaluating patient cases and determining which appointments can be rescheduled without significant impact to a patient’s health outcome.

These measures are in place to protect our facility and our community. Please know that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, seasonal flu and other respiratory illnesses.

What you can do

It’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a barrage of news reports and social media updates regarding COVID-19. The good news is that there are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls and doorknobs
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty)
  • Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

First and foremost - if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19. 

For non-emergency needs, if you need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and plan to visit our hospital, your primary care provider or an urgent clinic, please call ahead before you go and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may possibly be related to COVID-19. This will allow providers to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Please be reassured that our number one priority is the health and well-being of our community – and that includes you. We are prepared to manage an outbreak of respiratory illness, and we encourage you to follow the guidance above and stay tuned to updates from the CDC to help protect you and your loved ones. Keeping our community healthy is a community effort, and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community healthy today and for generations to come.

For more information and to stay abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19, you can visit www.cdc.gov.


Testing FAQ

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order. Visiting a provider does not necessarily mean you need testing or that you will receive testing. Your provider will work with Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency to follow all appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to determine if testing is recommended based on your symptoms and recent travel history.

What are the qualifications for being tested for COVID-19?

Someone may be a candidate for testing if he or she has:

  1. A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case; or
  2. A fever and cough or shortness of breath and a history of travel from affected geographic areas; or
  3. A fever and cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization with no other source of infection.

Can I pick up or buy a test kit for COVID-19?

No. At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order and are not commercially available to the public.

What do I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19? I want to be tested.

If you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you are experiencing mild symptoms you can manage at home in isolation, you do not need to seek medical care or testing.

I believe I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do next?

Symptoms of COVID-19 Sheet

I’m experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I’m worried.

If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

Should I get tested? Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care.

Worsening symptoms – I need to see my provider.

Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Will I be tested? Your provider will make this determination based on your symptoms, and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.

Emergent symptoms – I am having difficulty breathing.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Will I be tested? Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination based on your symptoms and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.


Donations of Medical Equipment

In response to questions about how members of the community can assist in the region’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response, Haywood Regional Medical Center (HRMC) today announced that it is accepting donations of unused and handmade medical and protective supplies and equipment. This move is part of HRMC’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for increased needs of personal protective equipment (PPE), which healthcare providers across the nation are experiencing.

The hospital can accept the following unused medical and protective supplies and equipment:

  • Disposable face masks including surgical masks and earloop masks
  • Respirator masks rated N95 or higher
  • Face shields and goggles designed to protect eyes
  • Disposable gowns such as medical/dental gowns as well as impervious or isolation gowns
  • Disposable non-latex gloves
  • Disposable surgical caps
  • Disposable foot covers
  • Antimicrobial wipes
  • Hand sanitizer

At this time, HRMC cannot accept medical devices, medications or linens. Those with supplies and equipment to donate may contact Debbie Moody at 828.452.8265 to arrange delivery.

In addition, homemade masks are being collected by the Haywood County EMS in a central location to serve needs within the county. Homemade masks may be brought to the Haywood Baptist Association Building at 228 Edwards Road in Clyde. There is a drop-box for after-hours collection.

For more information about homemade masks and other general COVID-19 questions, call the Haywood County COVID-19 Helpline at 828.356.2019. 


Hygiene Reminders from the CDC

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.

Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
     

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Why? Read the science behind the recommendations.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. Learn more here.

How to use hand sanitizer

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

For more information, visit the CDC website.