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Ringgold County Hospital officials announced that the hospital is following all the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health in response to the current Coronavirus pandemic affecting the nation.
“We’re healthcare professionals, and along with everyone else in the country, we’re taking this situation very seriously,” said Gordon Winkler, CEO of the hospital. “In order to protect the safety and wellbeing of all our patients and staff, we are pre-screening everyone wishing to gain entry to the hospital for fever, chills or sweats, cough, shortness of breath, or nausea/diarrhea.”
Some routine exams and wellness visits at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic have been rescheduled to reduce the potential spread of this virus.
Winkler added that the hospital has specific requests of the community:
1) Whether you are sick or not, stay home. Social distancing will slow down the spread of COVID-19. Also, wash your hands frequently and clean all the surfaces in your home.
2) If you feel sick, call 641-464-3226 before coming into the hospital. You will be directed to the appropriate department for help.
3) Dial “211” in Iowa, or 877-435-8411 in Missouri, to receive general information on COVID-19.
Although there have not been any COVID-19 cases reported in Ringgold County to date, the hospital has made changes both physically and operationally to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare workers. A dedicated entrance to the hospital has been created for those experiencing breathing issues. The dedicated entrance is on the north end of the hospital next to the Emergency Room entrance.
In addition, visitor access to the hospital has been restricted to between 6:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and is limited to the two main entrances. Anyone who enters the hospital will be screened for temperature and other COVID-19 risk factors. No public walking is allowed and only visits from immediate family members, loved ones, and clergy who meet the following criteria will be permitted. As part of these restrictions, visitors must:
• Be 18 years of age or older (this includes siblings).
• Be free from illness, including fever, sore throat, cough, and diarrhea / vomiting.
• Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand foam/gel upon entering and exiting a patient’s room.
• Limit movement within the facility and avoid common areas.
• Only allow two visitors at a time in a patient’s room and one patient in the Emergency Room.
• No visitors will be allowed into isolation areas unless patient is a child.
Exceptions may be made due to special circumstances and can be discussed with patient care teams. Unless such an exception is made, we will request visitors to leave.
For the latest information on COVID-19, online resources include the Iowa Department of Health: www.idph.iowa.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www. cdc.gov