EDITOR'S NOTE: The following press release was posted without editing.

With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases now in our region, Henry County Medical Center has made the decision to allow NO VISITORS into our facility effective Friday March 20, 2020.

The only exceptions will be needed caregivers or support persons such as a driver or parent of a patient under 18 years of age. Some special circumstances may apply and will be approved on a case-by-case basis, mainly End-Of-Life situations.

Other changes to the visitation policy are as follows:

•    Entrances to HCMC: There will only be 3 Patient/Support Person entrances to HCMC; the entrance from the patient parking lot/bridge, the front circle entrance, and the Emergency Department entrance. All other entrances will be locked to patients and visitors.

•    Entrance Hours: The two front entrances will be locked daily to patients/support persons from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. and will be locked on the weekends starting at 6 p.m. on Friday to open at 5 a.m. on Monday. The Emergency Department entrance will be open 24 hours a day.

•    Visitor Badge & Temperature: Anyone entering the facility as a patient or support person of the patient must check in at one of the desks and receive a Visitor Badge and have his/her temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will be asked to leave the facility.

•    Women’s Center (OB Unit): Only one support person will be allowed with the patient.

o    Special Care Nursery: Only the mother and father will be allowed for visitation. No grandparents or other immediate family.

•    HCMC Iris Cafe will be closed to the public. Partners and allowed visitors per guidelines ONLY.

•    HCMC Pink Petal Gift Shop: Closed until further notice.

•    Lake Haven Behavioral Center:  No visitors allowed.

•    Critical Care Unit:  No visitors allowed except special circumstances such as End-of-Life situations.

Again, the Emergency Room Visitation Policy is still in effect:

•    No visitation to be allowed in the ER rooms unless:

o    There is a need for a caregiver

o    The patient is under age and needs a parent

o    Or, there are special circumstances approved by the medical provider (physician or midlevel) treating the patient.

How you can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as Coronavirus:

•    Stay home when you are sick.

•    Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard in a trash.

•    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

•    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

•    Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

•    Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Again, if you believe you meet the criteria for the coronavirus including having the symptoms, traveling outside the United States or in the domestic hot spots associated with COVID – 19, or being in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please call your primary care provider to arrange for medical evaluation and testing.  If you present to our Emergency Department without a provider order for testing, you will be registered as an ER patient and be treated and charged as an ER patient, as well as masked and isolated.  If you have an order for testing from your provider, you will be instructed to park in the ER parking lot and a clinical staff member will come out and do the testing through our outpatient lab services.

HCMC is making every effort to educate and inform the public on ways to remain healthy through our website and our social media outlets, including specifically rigorous and frequent hand washing.  Please check back often for updates including a section dedicated to COVID-19.  For additional information, watch a video from our Community Pop Up event on coronavirus here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-iA5IPc4G8&t=3s

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider.  To learn more, go to our website at www.hcmc-tn.org or go to the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

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