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Memorial Health System Announces Visitor Restrictions and Care Guidance for Respiratory Illness Season

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

Memorial Health System is experiencing a high surge in patients with respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, RSV, and influenza. To do our part in protecting our community, visitor restrictions are now in place at all Memorial Health System locations. This means:

  • Two visitors per patient.
  • Visitors must be 18 or older and show no signs of illness
  • Masks are welcome but not required.
  • Additional restrictions may apply to specialized units and specific illnesses

In addition to restrictions, physicians are asking those who can to use their primary care providers, the Memorial Care Now (telehealth) APP, visit urgent care when appropriate, and to visit the ED when appropriate. Life-threatening emergencies and those that pose a risk of disability, such as symptoms of a heart attack or stroke; injuries sustained in a vehicle crash; and lacerations that cause substantial bleeding should be treated in an emergency department.

“Our EDs are experiencing higher-than-average visit numbers with many of those patients being sicker and requiring admission. This is leading to delays in some of our departments,” said Dr. Brian Scharfenberg.

Minor, unexpected injuries and illnesses that do not fall into those categories including ear infections, strep throat, simple abdominal pain, urinary tract infections, minor lacerations, sprains, and simple fractures can be treated at an urgent care center. The wait times are often shorter, and the cost is lower than going to the emergency room according to Scharfenberg.

Those with non-urgent or emergent medical concerns are encouraged to see their primary care providers, many of whom may offer virtual care appointments.  If you are unsure, call Memorial Health System’s FREE nurse line at (844) 474-6522 and they can direct you to the right place of care.

The Memorial Care Now APP can be downloaded through Google Play or the Apple App Store. Those who have a primary care provider in our system can speak to a health care provider FREE.

According to Dr. Scharfenberg, the best steps to help prevent contracting respiratory illnesses are to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. Lather for at least 20 seconds every time. If no soap is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and dispose of the tissue in the nearest waste receptacle after use.
  • Avoid contact with sick individuals.
  • Social distance when possible.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, such as your mobile phone.
  • Stay home if sick, unless seeking medical attention.
  • “We are here when and if you need us,” says Dr. Scharfenberg, “please be patient with us as we work through this surge. Also, our pediatric Emergency Department opened today on our Belpre Medical Campus at 2 p.m. and is open daily from 2 p.m. to midnight. We are working to treat all those are seeking us out for care.”
 

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