COVID-19 Information & Resources
At Hocking Valley Community Hospital, we're continuously working to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and community. This page is designed to keep you up-to-date on information regarding coronavirus and actions we are taking to protect our patients, employees, and those we serve. Please check back often for the latest information.
What is this virus?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others.
What are the symptoms?
The reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Considerations for who should get tested
- People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
- People who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
- People who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot socially distance as needed, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
- People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider, localexternal icon or state health department.
- Not everyone needs to be tested. If you do get tested, you should self-quarantine/isolate at home pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.
How can I prevent COVID-19?
As the COVID-19 vaccine is gradually distributed, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Wash 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.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
The Ohio Department of Health has created a website specific to Coronavirus. That website is: http://coronavirus.ohio.gov/. They also have established a 24-hour hotline should you have any questions pertaining to the virus: 1-833-427-5634.
- Updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Ongoing)
- Updates from the Ohio Department of Health (Ongoing)
- Ohio Hospital Association (Ongoing)
- Ohio Department of Health Order to Prohibit/Limit Mass Gatherings (3/13/20)
- What You Can Do to Decrease the Spread of Coronavirus (3/11/20)
- Checklist for Isolation and Quarantine (3/13/20)
- Checklist to Help the Isolated or Quarantined (3/13/20)
- Shopping Checklist (3/13/20)
- Checklist for Household Planning (3/11/20)
- Checklist for Older Ohioans with Chronic Conditions (3/12/20)
- Checklist for Childcare and K-12 (3/12/20)
- Checklist for Community and Faith Based Organizations (3/12/20)
- Checklist for Pet Owners and Veterinarians (3/12/20)
- Checklist for Polling Places and Voters (3/12/20)
- 5 Things You Can Do to Prepare for COVID-19 (3/11/20)
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers (3/11/20)
Are you performing tests and procedures?
HVCH has safely returned to performing ALL medical procedures. This includes regular provider visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, imaging procedures, rehabilitation, diagnostic tests and outpatient surgeries (including those which require an overnight stay).
What is the process for scheduling?
Your provider will be reaching out to you if you had a previously scheduled procedure which was postponed. If you do not hear from your provider and wish to be rescheduled, please call their office. We are able to perform all surgeries that were previously cancelled by the governor’s order. To continue to keep patients and the surgical team safe while resuming elective surgeries, patients are required to have a COVID-19 test prior to their procedure. This can be coordinated for you by your surgeon and the HVCH team.
How can I be sure it is safe to have a procedure now?
Our number one goal is to provide a safe environment for our patients, guests and our staff. HVCH has implemented several measures to protect patients and to mitigate the risk of disease transmission including:
• Limited entrances with temperature/symptom screening
• Visitor restrictions
• Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and waiting areas
• Masking of all patients and direct care staff
• Observance of social distancing
• Increased use of telehealth technologies
• Timing procedure schedules to limit contact between patients
What extra cleaning efforts are being done at HVCH to ensure my safety?
Our environmental services staff is cleaning only using disinfectants that are FDA approved to kill COVID-19. We have increased the frequency of cleaning waiting areas and high-touch surfaces throughout the facility.
How do I know I won’t be near someone who has COVID?
We have instituted several measures in order to minimize the possibility of being exposed to someone with COVID-like symptoms. Patients who are suspected to have COVID-19 will be taken directly to a private room with isolation precautions and will not be seated in waiting areas. We also are requiring everyone who enters the building to wear a mask and be screened, have rearranged waiting areas throughout the hospital to allow for proper physical distancing and are cleaning areas in between patients. There are designated areas in the hospital to admit COVID patients if necessary to ensure they are safely being cared for in the proper environment.
What if my admission is because of a serious trauma or illness…how do I know I have not been exposed to COVID-19 in your facility?
We make every effort to place possible COIVD-19 patients in a private room to reduce the risk of exposure to other patients. If there is an exposure at the hospital, the Infection Control Department will reach out to you and notify you of the potential exposure. The local health department is conducting contact tracing for any persons in the community who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19. If you have been exposed, the health department will notify you. Any testing for COVID-19 is completed based on experiencing symptoms, or as a part of pre-op testing. If you feel you have symptoms, and would like to be tested, please reach out to your primary care provider.
What if I have lab work; do I have to wait in the Registration area?
All patients are required to enter through the back (ER Lobby) entrance for further screening prior to entering the building. You will need to register for any service you have. You can assist us to decrease your wait time by having all of your documentation, insurance cards, and identification ready prior to coming in. Patients with COVID symptoms wait in a seperate designated areas than those awaiting other tests/procedures.
What is the process for my surgical procedure?
During your stay, you will visit three areas. Our surgical team is prepared to register you, bringing you back to the pre-op area immediately. From there you will go to the OR for your procedure, and then a recovery area afterwards. We can discharge you directly from the recovery area, if your surgery does not require an overnight stay. Please discuss this more specifically with your surgeon.
How do I know the equipment used for my procedure has not been exposed to a patient with COVID-19?
To ensure patient safety and minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other diseases, all equipment and surfaces throughout the hosptial are sanitized after each patient and routine cleaning of the waiting room is performed throughout the day. FDA-approved disinfectants are used in this process in accordance with CDC guidelines. Hospital personnel also wear appropriate personal protective equipment during testing to avoid the spread of viruses and bacteria. Equipment is not shared between any patients without being properly cleaned according to manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, HVCH utilizes disposable equipment for isolation rooms.
What kinds of tests can you do for COVID?
HVCH is currently a collection site for both the PCR (viral) testing, as well as the Serological (antibody) COVID-19 testing. We also offer testing at our Rural Health Clinic with an appointment and referral from a provider. If you would like to be tested for COVID, please reach out to your primary care provider.
Where do I go if I have COVID symptoms?
The Emergency Room entrance is the location to be used for patients. Contacting HVCH prior to entering allows the team to have appropriate PPE available to minimize the risk for you or other patients and staff. You will speak with a hospital employee and be given further instructions based on the symptoms you are experiencing.
What if I do not have a mask and you are requiring it?
Anyone entering the facility must wear a face covering, including patients and staff. Any type of face covering (face mask, bandana, etc.) may be worn as long as it covers the nose and mouth.
Are visitor(s)/support person(s) allowed?
Each area of the hospital has different visitation guidelines. Please see the Visitation Policy below.
Are there enough PPE supplies to keep me and my family safe?
Hocking Valley Community Hospital monitors the amount of personal protective supplies that we have in stock. In addition to ordering from regular supply chains, we have received supplies from a national stockpile. We have also received generous donations of homemade masks from people both from and outside of the community, and we continue to accept these donations as we move through the next phase of this pandemic.
What is the benefit of telehealth appointments?
Telehealth appointments allow for timely access to healthcare through a phone conversation or an audio-video app. This provides the patient an opportunity to discuss health issues they are experiencing, medications and other concerns with their provider from the comfort of their own environment. Telehealth can reduce the burden and cost of transportation and care, reduce the amount of time needed to take off work for appointments and can improve chronic disease management. There have been a number of health issues identified during a telehealth appointment where the provider recommended the patient come in for a more extensive physical exam, ordered more tests, or referred the patient to a specialist. Our goal is always what is best for the patient, and with telehealth, healthcare is easily accessible to homebound patients or those with busy schedules.
Is telehealth the preferred way to see my provider?
The preferred method is always face to face with a provider so they can complete a physical exam and obtain vital signs. Telehealth appointments are best for specific kinds of visits like follow ups, discussions about medications, or outcomes of prescribed therapies. Telehealth not only reduces costs of transportation, it allows patients to remain in the comfort of their own environment. Telemedicine is a relatively new field the federal government has changed guidelines for during this pandemic. Please rest assured, we have very strict and rigorous information security technology and that is also HIPAA compliant to protect your patient health information.
How can I track my health from home?
Our electronic medical record, Epic by Ohio State, has a very user-friendly smart phone app that is called My Chart. With this app you can manage prescription refills, change appointments and ask a provider basic questions about your health. For more information or help with set up, please reach out to your provider’s office or call Hocking Valley Community Hospital at 740-380-8000.
How has the COVID pandemic financially affected the hospital?
Unfortunately, hospitals were not immune to the hard financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order from the State of Ohio to cease non-emergency procedures for approximately 45 days to conserve and obtain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment not only delayed care for our patients, but significantly decreased revenue as well. During that time, the hospital worked diligently with state and federal leaders to secure necessary funding to properly care for our patients. This allowed us to increase staffing to assist with intensive disinfection of the facility, to purchase larger reserves of personal protective equipment to keep our employees and patients safe, and to keep as many of our employees as possible working.
How are you supporting the staff through all of this?
Hospital administration has been open and honest, providing staff with ongoing communication during the course of the pandemic. We are working with employees to assist with benefits, unemployment, coordinating child care, scheduling and any other concerns or questions raised. Staff members whose employment was impacted by furloughs were offered new positions if available to bring them back to work more quickly. Benefits for furloughed staff are being paid by HVCH until employment resumes. Employees also are reminded of benefits through HVCH’s Employee Assistant Program. COVID safety and sanitation is a top priority and staff members are provided with all the necessary Personal Protective Equipment to care for patients. Employees are provided with suggestions on coping with stress and mental illness and encouraged to use the walking trail for fresh air and exercise. We are providing employee engagement and morale activities as appreciation reminders. As always, employees are welcome to present suggestions to hospital leaders.
Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, we have implemented visitation guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our patients, their families and our staff. We recognize the need to have support persons available for the health and well-being of our patients, so we will continue to evaluate the need to change visitation guidelines based on guidance from state regulations, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
Outpatient/Ambulatory-Lab, Radiology, Cardiovascular & Respiratory
- No visitors are allowed
~ Parent/guardian of minor patients
~ Caregiver that needs to assist patient during their visit
Summit Behavioral Health Unit
- No visitors are allowed. Due to the cohabiting environment, the vulnerability of the patient population, and inline with state psychiatric hospitals the Summit continues to prohibit visitors at this time.
- For a patient coming for an outpatient surgery: limit one (1) visitor/support person in the building.
- No visitors under age 18
~ “End of life” situations
~ No visitors for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases
- 1 visitor permitted at bedside but must adhere to the following:
- Must be screened upon entry
- Must stay in designated marked area to ensure proper distancing from other patients
- Must stay with the patient at all times. Once designated the visitor will not be permitted to come and go or switch places with another visitor.
- Visitors may be asked to leave at anytime at the discretion of the provider/nurse
- No visitors for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases
- No visitors permitted in the Urgent Care at this time
~ Parent/guardian of minor patients
Inpatient (Hospitalized patients including Special Care Unit and Inpatient Transitional Unit):
- No visitors at this time
~ “End of life” situations
~ Parent/guardian of minor patients
- All persons entering the hospital will be screened for temperature, cough, shortness of breath.
- Visitors will be asked to leave the facility if they have/have had symptoms in the past 24 hours or COVID-19 exposures in the last 14 days.
- If the visitor is a driver for a patient, they will be asked to wait in their car until the patient’s appointment is completed. We ask that visitors refrain from parking in the emergency room parking lot to ensure adequate parking for patients.
HVCH is currently a collection site for both the PCR (viral) testing, as well as the Serological (antibody) COVID-19 testing. Patients with or without symptoms should be tested at our Rural Health Clinic drive-up testing site at 1383 W. Hunter Street. A provider referral and appointment are required. Patients with symptoms can be tested at the hospital Urgent Care or Emergency Room.