Testing is required for patients having surgery and select medical procedures.
Norton Healthcare will resume outpatient surgery and other outpatient invasive procedures on Wednesday, May 6. To accommodate these patients, who are required to have a COVID-19 test before their procedure, Norton Healthcare has opened pre-procedure testing clinics.
In addition, hospital inpatients now have the opportunity to be tested, and pregnant women coming to the hospital for delivery may opt to have a rapid COVID-19 test.
Emergency department patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 also can choose to be tested. Test results will be returned in 48 to 72 hours, and patients sent home from an emergency department will be monitored via Norton Healthcare’s new virtual hospital program, where a provider will call and check on patients daily.
“We are doing everything within our power to keep our patients, providers, employees and the community safe,” said Steven T. Hester, M.D., MBA, division president, provider operations, and system chief medical officer, Norton Healthcare. “Giving more patients the choice to have a COVID-19 test is something we now have the ability to do. Learning a COVID-19 status enables patients and providers to determine the care path to take. In addition, it lets patients know if they are at risk for passing the infection on to others, so they can take additional measures to prevent transmission.”
At all Norton Healthcare facilities, every patient will continue to have their temperature checked upon arrival and fill out a questionnaire of past travel and medical history to determine if they are high risk and need to be in isolation. It’s recommended all patients wear a mask when coming to a hospital, emergency department or outpatient setting for care. Patients who do not have a mask and show signs or symptoms of respiratory illness will be given a mask to wear.
Moving toward resumption of services by end of May
Should the number of new COVID-19 cases remain on a downward trend, Norton Healthcare plans to further expand services. On May 13, all hospital surgeries and procedures are planned to resume at 50% of pre-COVID-19 volumes. On May 27, all hospital surgeries and procedures are planned to resume at a to-be-determined volume based on supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and bed availability.
‘Safe appointment wait’
As part of its phased plan, Norton Healthcare will continue to follow its “safe appointment wait” measure that enforces social distancing in waiting areas, staggers scheduled appointments and, when possible, asks patients to wait in their vehicles for their appointments.
Norton Healthcare continues to follow these additional safety measures:
- In addition to patients, all employees and providers will continue to be screened for fever and respiratory symptoms upon entering any Norton Healthcare patient-care facility.
- Employees and providers caring for patients are provided the recommended PPE.
- Infection prevention best practices, including thorough cleaning and sterilization between each patient visit, will continue.
- Telehealth services continue to be the preferred method for patient appointments during this pandemic and will continue to be used whenever possible for the foreseeable future.
- The no-visitor policy (with few exceptions) continues to be in effect; and for the safety of patients, providers and employees, a normal visitor policy will not resume in the near future.