Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge is asking you to call ahead if you have symptoms of COVID-19: fever, coughing, or breathing problems.
That’s consistent with recommendations from the Tennessee Department of Health, which asks you to call your health care provider first if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
MMC said you should call (865) 835-3408 before you go to the hospital’s emergency room, and you will be given an explanation of what you should do before you visit.
When you arrive at MMC’s Emergency Department, you will be met outside for a quick assessment, the hospital said. Once assessed, you may be given a mask and asked to wear it before entering the facility. You will be escorted inside by a team member.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Anderson County on Thursday. There are now at least 154 cases in Tennessee.
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. Most cases are reported to be mild to moderate, but the illness can sometimes be lethal or cause severe symptoms.
The new virus was first reported in China in December, and it has since spread around the world, infecting more than 200,000 people and killing more than 8,000. In the United States, more than 11,000 cases have been reported, and 164 people had died as of Thursday afternoon.
MMC said it has new entrance restrictions.
“If you are coming to Methodist Medical Center as a patient or a guest, please know we have limited our entry into the hospital so that our team is able to screen everyone for travel history, fever, or respiratory symptoms,” the hospital said. “Public access to the hospital is now restricted to the Main Lobby (open 6 a.m.-9 p.m.) and Emergency Department entrances (open 24 hours) only. This includes limited access from the parking garage.
“Staying healthy and keeping those around you healthy should be your number one priority,” MMC said. “But if you become ill and need medical care, Methodist Medical Center will be there to treat you, but we need a little help from you. As usual, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please go to your nearest emergency room immediately or call 9-1-1.”
Visitation restrictions and guidelines
MMC has temporarily restricted its visitation policy to protect the health and safety of patients and caregivers.
No one with a cough, fever, or breathing issues may enter the hospital. Patients will be asked to limit their visitors to only one per person, unless special circumstances such as hospice or end-of-life apply. Those coming for outpatient procedures will be asked to have only one person accompany them: their driver. Again, screening rules apply to all who enter, the hospital said.
“If you or your support person are exhibiting symptoms such as fever, coughing, or breathing issues, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment and encouraged to follow up with your primary care provider,” MMC said.
The new visitation guidelines are as follows:
- General visitation: 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Critical Care visitation: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and 8 p.m.-8:30 p.m. No visitors will be allowed after 8:30 p.m.
- Family Birthing Center visitation: Only one support person per patient will be allowed during delivery. No visitors will be allowed on the labor and delivery floor unless they live in the household with the patient.
For more information about COVID 19, visit the website at mmcoakridge.com for a link to a special coronavirus page with current updates, frequently asked questions, information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones, and links to trusted resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tennessee Department of Health.
“Please know we are actively working with local, state and federal agencies to provide our community the best care in response to this evolving situation,” MMC said. “Thank you for understanding our new restrictions are in place for the safety of our patients, staff, and you. Help us help you and our entire community by following these protective measures. By working together we can help stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives!”