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St. Bernards Revises Entrance Policy to Limit Potential COVID-19 Spread

By: mitchell.nail ,
Category: Featured Press Room
Visitor Entrance Changes


  • Three publicly-available entrances.
    • Main Tower Entrance (open 24/7).
    • Emergency Department Entrance for emergency patients only (open 24/7).
    • "Red Level" Entrance in Parking Garage (open 4:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.).
  • Screenings for individuals entering Medical Center.
    • Short questionnaire related to COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Temperature screening.
  • Two visitors allowed at a time per patient.
    • Visitors must be at least 15 years of age.
    • ICU, Cancer Center, and Emergency Department patients may only have one visitor.
  • HeartCare Center, Cancer Center, and 5 East Labor & Delivery operate separate entrances for their patients during weekday business hours.

With the increased number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, St. Bernards Medical Center (SBMC) has revised its entrance policy in efforts to prevent potential disease spread in Northeast Arkansas.

Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, the hospital will limit the number of publicly-available entrances to three while allowing a maximum number of two patient visitors at a time. To provide even further protection, individuals will undergo screenings at each entry before receiving admittance. Visitors will receive a short series of questions upon arrival. Any individuals with risk factors, such as a fever or symptoms of a respiratory illness, will not be allowed to visit at this time. In addition, visitors must be at least 15 years of age, while ICU, Emergency Department, and Cancer Center patients may only have one visitor at at time.

SBMC Administrator Michael Givens said the hospital made a collective decision amid growing concerns an infected individual could unintentionally expose vulnerable patients, hospital employees, and visitors to COVID-19.

“St. Bernards is not turning away patients or eliminating visitors,” Givens said. “We understand the importance that healthy social interaction plays in the healing process, but we are trying to protect those already in our care.”

St. Bernards will operate two 24/7 entrances, keeping the main tower entrance open, located at 225 East Washington Avenue, and the Emergency Department entrance open for patients seeking emergency care. In addition, the entrance located on the parking garage’s “Red Level” leading to the long hall known as the “History Hall” will stay open from 4:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

In addition to these daily entrances, the St. Bernards Cancer Center and HeartCare Center will remain open for patients and visitors on weekdays, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrants at these locations will also receive screenings.

Givens said easily identifiable signage will provide thorough guidance upon arrival.

“We know changes can create confusion, and we’re committed to making the transition as seamless as possible,” Givens said.

Givens added that St. Bernards employees stand ready to help those needing assistance or directions.

“St. Bernards takes pride in its welcoming environment,” he said, “and we don’t expect that to change. We've been a trusted provider in our community for nearly 120 years, and we're dedicated to healthcare safety. We appreciate the community’s understanding of our measures to protect all our patients, visitors, and team members."