Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information Learn More
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.
COVID-19 Online Risk Assessment
To help support the health of our community, we are providing access to an online COVID-19 risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This tool does NOT provide a diagnosis, and it should NOT be used as a substitute for an assessment made by a healthcare provider.
For Patients and Visitors
At Haywood Regional Medical Center, our top priority is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our patients, providers, employees and community. We continue to closely monitor the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and follow state and federal guidance as we adapt our operations to safely care for and support our patients.
Haywood County is currently experiencing a rapid increase in positive cases of COVID-19, indicating unchecked community spread. Thus, with the health and safety of our patients, families, employees and community in mind, Haywood Regional Medical Center will temporarily suspend visitation to our facility effective 6:00 am on Monday, December 7, 2020. This includes inpatient visitation, inpatient and outpatient procedures and surgeries, and the ER.
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.
These increased safety measures do NOT mean that you cannot access the hospital or your providers. Please seek medical care as needed. And if you are concerned you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call your provider in advance of going to his or her office. Of course, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Haywood Regional Medical Center values the trust our community places in us, and we appreciate your understanding as we shift our visitation policies during this time.
We know there are a lot of questions about the emerging COVID-19 vaccines. Our goal is to keep you informed as vaccines are approved and rolled out for our workforce, patients and community in the weeks ahead.
We have created a list of common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines based on current knowledge and understanding. These questions will continue to evolve with time, so we encourage you to check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.
Common Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines:
- Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? When will it be available to the general public?
We are in the process of distributing the vaccine in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government and our state health departments. Vaccine administration has begun with our frontline healthcare workers. As soon as the vaccine becomes more broadly available, we strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated.
- The vaccine was produced very quickly. How do I know it is safe?
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is the top priority while federal partners work to make the COVID-19 vaccines. Despite what the name may suggest, “Operation Warp Speed” does not mean that manufacturers were able to skip steps or cut corners in the vaccine development process. Instead, after development of the vaccine, manufacturers took a secured risk and overlapped the study, manufacturing and distribution phases. The FDA committed to giving these vaccinations priority (not rushed) review at all phases of the studies, which helped speed up the overall process. Ongoing monitoring of vaccine effectiveness and side effect reports will continue to be evaluated by the FDA and the manufacturers.
- If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, should I still wear a mask?
Yes. For several reasons, a mask and other proven methods of preventing COVID-19 (hand hygiene and social distancing) are still important even after receiving the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
- If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?
Yes. At this time, the vaccine is recommended even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. More information will be shared as it becomes available.
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people who have had COVID-19 greater than 90 days ago should proceed with getting the vaccine. Due to limited vaccine supply, if you have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, your likelihood of reinfection is low enough during this time period that you can wait to get the vaccine until you hit the 90-day mark after being sick.
- Can you contract COVID-19 by getting the vaccine?
No. The vaccine is NOT a live vaccine, and it is NOT possible to contract COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Some people experience side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, muscle pain, or fever – but that does not mean you have COVID-19. It means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus, which is a good thing.
- What are the possible side effects/adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccine?
The most common adverse reactions reported have been fatigue, headache, fever/chills and joint pain. This means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus.
You can read more in Pfizer’s FDA Briefing Document about the side effects reported among the vaccine study participants.
- Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to children?
The COVID-19 vaccine is not indicated for children younger than 16 years old at this time.
- Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to pregnant women?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals. It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available have not been tested in pregnant women, so there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy. Pregnant women should make an informed decision after discussing with their healthcare provider.
- How many doses are required? If multiple, when do I get another dose?
For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, two doses are required. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose. It is very important to note that the second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
- What should I do if I am unable to get the second dose exactly 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose?
While it is recommended that you receive the second dose as soon as feasible after day 21 or day 28, we understand that it might not be possible to receive it on the desired date. This could be due to multiple reasons. Please keep the following in mind if you cannot receive the second vaccine dose on the desired date:
- You must receive the second dose from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
- Get the second dose as soon as possible after the desired date has passed, as it is better to get the second dose late than not at all. You will still experience the same efficacy in the long run, although you may not see the full effect of the immunity until a few weeks after the second dose.
- How long after receiving both doses of the vaccine until it is considered effective?
Similar to the flu vaccine, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. As a general rule, the vaccine is considered effective about two weeks after the second dose, according to the manufacturers. There is evidence that the first dose will begin providing some immunity, but it is still very important to receive the second dose for optimal results.
- Can I choose which vaccine I get (Pfizer or Moderna)?
We do not recommend waiting for a specific manufacturer. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar efficacy and potential side effects, and have shown decreased disease severity in the small numbers of study participants who contracted COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Both manufacturers require two doses. It is important to remember that the second dose you receive must be from the same manufacturer. Early defense is better than no defense against COVID-19.
As for Haywood Regional Medical Center specifically, here are answers to a few additional questions:
- Haywood Regional Medical Center has received an initial allotment of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- This allotment is prioritized for our healthcare workers – as per guidance from the CDC, federal government, and the state of North Carolina.
- This vaccine allotment is not available for the public at this time, but, once the vaccine becomes more broadly available, we will strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated.
- State and local health departments are at the forefront of the vaccine distribution plan. For information about the vaccine priority within the state of North Carolina, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.
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.
- All patients are required to wear masks while in our facilities to 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.
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.
Haywood Regional Medical Center is taking every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities. For this reason, we are requiring that anyone who enters our facility must wear a face mask at all times.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own mask from home to help conserve hospital supplies for patients and staff.
Why wear a mask? Recent studies show that universal masking, in addition to practicing social distancing and proper hand hygiene, can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, especially in individuals who may not know they are ill. And until there is a vaccine, these measures are our best line of defense in protecting not only you, but also our healthcare workers and community members.
Please be smart and do your part. Wear a mask! We all have a responsibility to protect one another against the spread of COVID-19 and make our communities healthier. For more information from the CDC on face coverings and how to make your own, click here.
HRMC is accepting donations of homemade cloth masks. For more information, click here.
How do I get tested for COVID-19?
At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order or a provider visit at our Urgent Care location. 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.
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?
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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Show Me the Science: How to Wash Your Hands
- Haywood County Health & Human Services: Public Health Services
- NC Department of Health and Human Services
- Haywood County Emergency Medical Services
- Minutes Matter: Don’t Put Your Heart Health On Hold During COVID-19
- Keeping Our Patients Safe During COVID-19
- Know Where to Go to Get the Care You Need
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health During COVID-19
- Taking Care of Your Child's Health and Wellness During COVID-19
- Childbirth and COVID-19: Keeping Expecting Mothers and Newborns Safe at Haywood Regional Medical Center
- Maintaining a Clean & Safe Environment