Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Rutherford Regional Health System continues to work closely with the local health department and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the hospitals and clinics are prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in the community contract or be exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, please contact the Rutherford County Health Department at 828.287.6100

Frequently Asked Questions for Patients

Is the hospital clean and safe?

Our hospital is clean and safe – just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. We partner with a national environmental services vendor to keep our hospital current on the most effective cleaning and disinfection protocols available in healthcare today. We follow all recommended CDC guidance for infection control and protocols for the environment. Each room is allowed proper ventilation, and then cleaned with EPA approved disinfects, ensuring high touch service areas are of primary focus. After discharge, terminal cleaning will be performed by EVS personnel.

Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?

Our clinical teams will conduct twice daily “go/no-go” meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE, medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.

We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we’ll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.

Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?

Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.

Will my experience be the same as in the past?

Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What should I expect during my procedure?


Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and you will need to wear a mask or cloth face covering brought from home. 

We are now operating under a limited visitation protocol out of an abundance of caution, please see the policy below. If you have a family members who doesn't meet the limited visitation requirements we will be happy to gather their contact information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and share instructions for pick up at the same location.

You may never see another patient while you are here, and that is intentional for now. We are currently trying to minimize overlap in an effort to promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect the safety of all of our patients and employees.

You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.

You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.

What questions will I be asked during the screening?

The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have any of the following:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.

How will I prepare for my procedure?

If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing – trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You also will be asked to check your temperature twice a day during this seven-day period and report any result above 100°F to your provider. Finally, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.

If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.

Will I be tested for COVID-19?

If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will place the order for the test, and the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test happens to be positive, your procedure will be postponed, and you will be given instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.

Can my family member/spouse/friend/caregiver come with me to the facility?

If you have a family member or caregiver with you, they will be permitted to enter the hospital, if in accordance with our current limited visitation guidelines:

We are currently operating under a limited visitor protocol out of an abundance of caution.Patients will be limited to one WELL visitor per day for patients receiving care in the following areas: surgical, invasive procedures, ER or inpatient stays. All visitors must be 16 years of age or older and will be required to wear a mask or face covering brought from home and visitor sticker while in the facility. Visitors are NOT allowed for high-risk, isolation, immunocompromised or respiratory patients who are under observation or test positive for COVID-19. We will continue to screen everyone who enters our facilities for. Visitors who do not pass the screening at entry will be asked to reschedule their visit until they are symptom-free. Visitors will only be allowed to enter at the designated screening checkpoints located at the ER entrance and Outpatient Entrance.

What happens when I arrive for my procedure?

When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and you will need to wear a mask or face covering brought from home. 

Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?

We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.

All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with the North Carolina Health and Human Services Department and CDC guidelines. Our hospital has a dedicated isolation unit/wing for treatment of patients under investigation (PUIs) and patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

If I have additional questions about my procedure, who should I contact?

If you have any questions, please call our team at 828.286.5000.  

Visitor Restrictions and Screening Guidelines (updated June 1, 2020)

In accordance with guidance from the Rutherford County Health Department, NC Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and with the health and safety of our patients, families, employees and community in mind, Rutherford Regional Health System is now operating on a limited visitor restrictions and new screening guidelines, effective Monday, June 1st as follows:

           

Signage has been posted around the facilities notifying visitors and the community of these new restrictions and guidelines.

As the situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, so does our hospital’s response. In addition to measures we’ve taken including restricting visitors, screening employees, closing common areas, and adhering diligently to the Rutherford County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Rutherford Regional Health System is taking more precautionary steps to help ensure the safety of our patients, employees and visitors. 

Please see the latest CDC testing symptoms guidelines here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

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.

Begin CDC Online Assessment

Quick Links:


NC Coronavirus Helpline: 1.866.462.3821

Supporting Efforts to Keep Our Community Healthy
By Rebecca Segal, Chief Executive Officer of Rutherford Regional Health System

Our community – along with communities around the world – is navigating unprecedented challenges as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread. The cycle of our lives and neighborhoods has been altered, and we are all working to accommodate an ever-changing new normal. Fear and uncertainty complicate our collective abilities to do this.  

Rutherford Regional Health System is dedicated to helping everyone in our region navigate the COVID-19 environment in which we are all living right now. We have received many questions from our patients, partners and neighbors about how people can assist our efforts to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible. 

Here are some important actions everyone can take:

  1. Stay home. In times of trouble, our first instinct is to reach out – to come together and help one another. That’s why so many people are struggling with the best and most crucial advice healthcare experts are giving: stay at home and keep your distance from friends, neighbors, and even family. But we all must listen to and follow this advice. People’s lives depend on it – especially our healthcare workers and those who are over 60 or already live with underlying health conditions.

    We encourage everyone to stay in your own home as much as possible. Only go out if you have to, and choose a time to go to the grocery or pharmacy when it’s not crowded. If you see other people, try to stay at least six feet away from them, and don’t touch them. No handshakes, hug, or kisses. Remember: a lot of people who are carrying this virus won’t show any symptoms. So, the surest way to avoid catching it is to maintain social distance and cancel all gatherings, even small ones.

  1. Follow medical guidance. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, we recommend that you 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.

    Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen. 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.

    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.

  1. Donate medical and protective equipment and supplies. Hospitals across our nation are bracing for shortages of medical and protective equipment and supplies such as disposable masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers. These are essential in protecting our staff on the front lines of caring for patients. If you have supplies and equipment such as these, please consider donating them to regional hospitals. Those with unused supplies and equipment to donate may contact 828.286.5634 to arrange delivery. 

  1. Donate blood. In addition to potential supply shortages, healthcare providers are preparing for blood shortages. Many communities have had to cancel blood drives due to COVID-19, so blood in many regions is in short supply. Donating blood is a safe process, and you can help out by calling the American Red Cross at 800.733.2767 or visiting redcrossblood.org to find a donation location near you.

Rutherford Regional Health System is grateful for our community’s ongoing support and cooperation as we work to protect local families from the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate all that you do and will continue to provide information on what we know about the virus and how you can help us keep our region healthy.  Visit MyRutherfordRegional.com for more information or call 828.286.5000 with any questions you may have.  

CDC Mask Guidance

CDC Tool

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing FAQ




 

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 the Rutherford County Health Department to follow all appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Health and Human Services Department 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?

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 the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Department 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 Department guidelines.

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. 

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