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Piedmont Columbus Regional’s Response to COVID-19

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Piedmont has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), to stay up-to-date with the latest information.

At Piedmont Columbus Regional, we are consistently preparing for potential infectious diseases and epidemics, but have intensified our efforts since COVID-19 showed increased activity in the United States. As a result, we have been educating our clinical staff across the Piedmont network – and in particular those who are in the position to have first contact with patients – on the screening guidelines for COVID-19. While our efforts are vast, here are the most important ones to highlight:

  • We continue to reinforce the use of appropriate isolation procedures for patients with symptoms.
  • The COVID-19 travel questionnaire has been added to our electronic medical record, Epic, which connects the Piedmont system across all our facilities statewide. 
  • As of this week, we established a system-wide incident command center to monitor and address COVID-19-related issues, now that Georgia is seeing presumptive positive cases.
  • Piedmont has adopted new restrictions for visitors, which are determined by leadership at each of our hospitals depending on their assessment of the area’s specific situation.

Piedmont Columbus Regional is one of four Tier 1 Treatment Hospitals for Serious Infectious Disease in the state. Additionally, Piedmont Columbus provides advanced emergency services as the regional coordinating hospital for Region I serving 16 counties. 

“We are trained and ready and I’m confident in our ability to appropriately respond and treat any presumptive COVID-19 patients,” said Scott Hill, Piedmont Columbus Regional CEO. 

It’s important to understand that the situation is evolving every day, and as the CDC changes its guidelines, we, in turn, are updating our practices to follow the latest best practices and protocols.

Lastly, according to the CDC, “for most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.” For the large majority of patients who may have flu-like symptoms, testing for coronavirus is still not necessary. For patients who have traveled to Level 3 countries as determined by the CDC and/or are immunocompromised and have flu-like symptoms (fever with cough, shortness of breath), they may qualify for testing. For those without symptoms or with mild symptoms, they should stay home and follow CDC guidelines for self-isolation. If patients have severe symptoms that are getting worse, our guidance is to go to an emergency room – if possible, call ahead and let them know you are coming – and mask yourself as soon as you can. 

Pre-entry screenings for COVID-19 symptoms are in place at the Midtown and Northside Campus Emergency Departments. Designated staff are at these entrances screening patients using the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) most updated COVID-19 indicators.

In addition to the current flu season visitation restriction that are in effect, Piedmont Columbus Regional is now in a Level III visitation restriction. This means childrens age 12 and under (except those who are here for healthcare services) as well as visitors who are ill will not be prohibited inside any facilities. No more than one visitor allowed per patient. Visitors age 70 and over are strongly discouraged from visiting until further notice. All visitors will undergo a health screening.

 We will continue to put the safety and care of our patients, communities, staff and partners at the forefront of everything we do as we address COVID-19.

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