Coronavirus (COVID-19): Preparation and Prevention
As the situation regarding COVID-19, known as the novel coronavirus, continues to evolve, St. Bernarnds Medical Center has prepared tirelessly expecting a potential influx of individuals with the disease. St. Bernards has a dedicated team of medical experts implementing a specific plan preparing to offer Christ-like healing to each of these patients, while avoiding exposing hospital patients with other ailments as well as visitors and employees.
MOST RECENT UPDATES
Due to an increase in COVID-19 patients in Arkansas and across the country, St. Bernards Medical Center is implementing new visiting policies for our hospital. Each patient may have only one designated essential visitor and it must be an immediate family member or the primary care-giver of the patient. We are making exceptions for specific cases such as end of life, parents of minors and parents of patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
We are asking for each designated essential visitor to show photo identification and wear an identifying armband while on the St. Bernards Medical Center campus.
Please know that we worked very hard to maintain normal and abbreviated visiting hours for as long as possible, but more COVID-19 cases in our community and an ever-increasing workload for our staff forced us to implement this change. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause for your family, but we must take this step for the protection of our patients, community and staff.
Even in exceptions, visitors must be 15 or older and pass a health screening before entering the hospital. All exceptions require the approval of hospital administration. Doctors and other staff on the patient floor are not authorized to grant exceptions without approval.
The screening includes:
- Short questionnaire related to COVID-19 symptoms.
- Temperature check. If you have a temperature of 100 or greater, you will not be allowed in the medical center.
- All visitors must show photo ID.
- If you have visited Washington state, California, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey or Connecticut in the last 14 days, you will not be allowed to visit anyone in the medical center.
Thank you for your cooperation.
We will work to restore visiting hours as soon as possible and will be happy to work with you and your family to stay in touch with one another using technology.
Thank you for trusting us with your care here at St. Bernards Medical Center. Please do not hesitate to ask your caregiver if you have questions.
Download a printable version of the Visitor Guidelines here.
ST. BERNARDS URGENT CARE
In an effort to serve our community best, we are temporarily combining our resources, and we'll only have ONE Urgent Care Location open in Jonesboro for the public. Please use our Red Wolf Boulevard Urgent Care for any urgent care related need. We are ready to serve you.
St. Bernards Urgent Care clinics in Paragould and Kennett are still open.
As always, a great option is virtual care on St. Bernards Go. If you think your illness is COVID-19 related, you can use the coupon code: COVID on the St. Bernards Go app to waive the $49 fee. For COVID-19 related questions, call 870.336.5651 or 870.336.5671 for more information.
HOW TO HELP
In this crazy time, patients are scared and staff members are doing their absolute best to provide Christ-like healing to people across Northeast Arkansas.
To assist, the St. Bernards Foundation has set up a COVID-19 Support Fund, which will be used for patient care including testing, medication, medical supplies and staff support. It will enable our clinical staff to sustain their resilience while continuing to provide safe, high-quality care to our patients and community. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, needs may increase or change.
The COVID-19 Support Fund is designed to provide assistance as needs continue to be identified. If you would like to contribute, please visit stbernards.info/foundation/donations or call 870-207-2500.
In addition, with a high national demand for face masks, we've received overwhelming community support to provide our healthcare professionals with homemade, reusable face masks. We thank every person volunteering to help and consider you a vitally-important St. Bernards team member.
We've attached criteria below that guide our volunteers to best keep our healthcare professionals safe. Excluding the elastic bands, the masks must be 100% cotton. We ask our volunteers to deliver the masks to the St. Bernards Foundation, located at 400 East Street, Jonesboro, AR 72401. Foundation operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ST. BERNARDS SENIOR HOUSING
At this time, St. Bernards Senior Housing is not accepting new residents at St. Bernards Village, St. Bernards Villa and Benedicting Manor. For more information, call St. Bernards Senior Housing at 870.336.4300.
ST. BERNARDS HEALTH & WELLNESS CLOSURE
Per CDC recommendations and a mandate from Gov. Asa Hutchinson, St. Bernards Health & Wellness has closed all nonessential operations until further notice. This mandate was issued to prevent community spread of COVID-19. Please note Jonesboro Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine (JOSM) and St. Bernards Physical Therapy will continue normal operations for the time being. St. Bernards Cardiac Rehab, however, has closed.
St. Bernards Healthcare Volunteer Services has been suspended until further notice. This policy is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of our volunteers.
Unless you have been specifically notified, all student rotations have been postponed until further notice. Please check with your advisor for more information.
PREGNANT MOTHERS INFORMATION
(Updated 3/24/2020) If you are in labor the best entrance for you to use is our Main Tower Entrance on Washington Ave. This entrance is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
One visitor, age 15 and older, may join you. Visitors will be screened upon entry at the Main Tower. To see the letter from SBMC Administrator Michael Givens with more information, click here.
To view a letter from our OB physicians helping answer some questions and updated clinic visit guidelines, click here.
In addition, St. Bernards Pregnancy Clinic patients can view their updated clinic visit guidelines here.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
COVID-19 symptoms often appear 2 to 14 days post exposure, most commonly expressed with fever, persistent coughing, and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms include diarrhea, runny nose, sore throat, and aches and pains.
I THINK I MIGHT BE SICK. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Call before visiting your doctor. The healthcare provider, in turn, can make necessary arrangements to properly care for you and protect others from exposure. If you have an appointment, alert your healthcare provider that you may have COVID-19.
Severe cases of COVID-19 may require medical attention, including hospitalization. You may recover from non-severe cases, however, at home. If you are at home, get plenty of bed rest, stay hydrated, and take over-the-counter medications to treat your symptoms.
WHAT'S THE SAFEST WAY TO SEEK CARE?
If you're sick and worried you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), use St. Bernards Go for a FREE virtual care appointment. Once you're on the app/site, sign-up or log-in. In the "Payment" window, use the coupon code COVID to waive the $49 visit fee.
Visit your mobile app store and search "St. Bernards Go" to download or visit us at stbernardsgo.com to start using this online service today. Our normal operating hours are Monday-Friday 7AM-8PM, Saturday 9AM-8PM, and Sunday 12PM-8PM.
WHO IS AT THE HIGHEST RISK FOR COVID-19?
According to the CDC, data shows that some people are at a higher risk for getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older Adults (65+)
- Individuals with compromised immune systems
- Individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart Disease
- Lung Disease
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or health condition, it is important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease, including:
- Isolate at home and practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or having been in a public place.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay away from large gatherings and crowds.
- Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social or commercial networks.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COVID-19 AND CORONAVIRUS?
COVID-19 belongs to the coronavirus group, which includes seven other human coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. Specifically, “CO” stands for “corona,” “VI” for “virus,” and “D” for “disease.” The number 19 denotes the year 2019 of its outbreak.
The coronavirus group derives its name from the Latin word “corona,” meaning “crown” or “wreath.” This viruses resemble a crown when placed under a microscope.
HOW DOES THE VIRUS SPREAD?
Initial infections trace back to live animal markets in Wuhan, China, but the virus quickly gained the capability of spreading person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others, but how long they remain capable of exposing others remains on a case-by-case basis. Before COVID-19 patients are rendered safe to leave isolation, they must have no fever without using fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, show no symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, and receive two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests collected at least 24 hours apart.
HOW CAN I STAY WELL?
Good hygiene is key, similar to other viral preventions. The CDC recommends you wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, have a hand sanitizer readily accessible with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Furthermore, it is imperative you do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Consider using non-contact methods of greeting to avoid handshaking, and make sure high-touch surface—doorknobs, tables, desks, handrails, countertops, toilets, light switches, handles, faucets, sinks, phones, and keyboards—receive proper disinfecting regularly.
Lastly, stay home if you are sick or have a sick family member living with you to avoid exposing others to illnesses.
MAY I TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY?
The U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory, advising citizens to avoid all international travel because of the global impact of COVID-19. In addition, federal authorities recommend that travelers should immediately return home if commercial departure options remain available.
Lastly, all cruise ship and long airfare travel are discouraged, particularly for individuals with underlying health issues. Due to prolonged close contact, these travelers are at a particularly high risk for communicable diseases like COVID-19.
MAY I TRAVEL OUTSIDE ARKANSAS?
(Updated 4/6/2020) Arkansas received its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 11, 2020 and has since seen 853 confirmed cases, including 16 virus-related deaths. COVID-19 is present in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. currently has about 340,000 confirmed cases and nearly 10,000 virus-related deaths nationwide.
SHOULD I STAY HOME?
You should always stay at home if you feel sick or have a sick family member living with you. Federal authorities currently recommend avoiding groupings of more than 10 people.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "QUARANTINE" AND "ISOLATION"?
The term “quarantine” refers to an individual exposed to an infected person and, consequently, practicing social distancing. “Isolation” meanwhile, describes a sick individual. For COVID-19, the quarantine period lasts 14 days from the last exposure date
SHOULD I WEAR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)?
Personal Protective Equipment, referred to as PPE, includes items like masks, gloves and eye-wear. We need to reserve the PPE we have here at St. Bernards for the medical professionals caring for people in our facility and do not have any masks for public distribution.
When you are out in public, however, the CDC recommends you cover your nose and mouth with a cloth face cover. The covering will help protect others should you be infected with COVID-19, even if you do not feel symptoms. Cloth coverings should not be placed on children under two years of age or on an individual with difficulty breathing.
Lastly, due to high nationwide demand for N95 respirators, we ask that you reserve all such equipment for healthcare workers in medical settings.
ARE MY PETS IN DANGER?
Despite the virus likely originating from an animal, the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. Consequently, research suggests your pets are not at risk for COVID-19 infection.
Animals can spread other diseases to people, so remember to wash your hands after caring for them.