As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout Michigan, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital has taken and continues to take steps to respond and adapt. “I want our employees and community to know that we are doing and will continue to do everything in our power to respond to this crisis and support them in every way possible,” said HNJH CEO, Hunter Nostrant.
On March 13, 2020, the hospital established a COVID-19 task force that took steps to prepare for the pandemic by announcing the first round of visitor restrictions. In just the last month, the staff has accomplished a tremendous amount of work and taken numerous actions to respond to COVID-19:
- All non-essential visiting was suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff, and community. In addition to not allowing visitors, the HNJH cafeteria dining area and both Wellness Center locations were closed to the public.
- A COVID-19 screening hotline was created. If you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath), we ask that you call 906.293.9288 before coming into the healthcare center.
- A triage process was enacted for high-risk COVID-19 screening by placing a tent on the ambulance bay side of the clinic building. Since implementing this screening, 28 people have been tested with 1 positive case reported.
- The clinic staff implemented a new scheduling process for patients and temporarily moved the location of the walk-in clinic Monday-Friday to Dr. Bryant’s office location. This process minimizes situations where patients suffering from fever or respiratory symptoms are coming into contact with patients coming in for routine visits.
- A TeleVisit option was developed to continue to meet the needs of our patients. Call the Gibson Family Health Clinic at 906.293.9233 to schedule an appointment.
- All employees, patients, and visitors are screened before entering the building. Masks are required for employees but are also available for members of the public entering the building.
The HNJH COVID-19 task force continues to meet daily and prepare for situations such as the potential surge of patients, transfer protocols, and resource allocation. We are actively evaluating our PPE inventory as well as staying apprised of local, state, and national trends as it concerns COVID-19.
While the number of reported cases in our area is low, it is important to assume that the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 is present throughout the region. It is important to cooperate with the recommendations to keep ourselves and others safe, such as the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order and social distancing.
For more information about COVID-19, visit michigan.gov/coronavirus and cdc.gov/coronavirus.