February COVID Update
Dr. Robin Trotman
CoxHealth regularly plans and prepares to manage a wide variety of illnesses and injuries throughout the communities it serves. A team of health care providers regularly meets to assess the current situation in the local area and how to best prepare to care for patients. We want to reassure the community we are prepared to take care of the community when they need us.
Anyone entering a CoxHealth facility will be required to wear a mask or face covering. This decision includes both visitors and patients. Visitors must also wash your hands when entering and exiting a patient's room. Visitors are encouraged to stay six feet away from the patient.
We are only allowing hospital patient visitors for those receiving non-COVID-19 related care in the following areas:
- Inpatient: Patients in the hospital may have one visitor for two consecutive hours per day. Visitors may choose between one of two open visiting opportunities: 11 a.m.–1 p.m., or 4–6 p.m. These hours will be consistent across all campuses. This does not include TCU, Inpatient Rehab at MORH and Cox Branson, Skilled Unit at Monett and Barton County; Adult and Senior Psych units.
- Exception: Patients being admitted into the hospital who decline a COVID-19 test will not be allowed to have visitors.
- End-of-life care: Patients who are at end-of-life or on comfort care will be able to have two visitors at a time.
- NICU: Two guardians/caregivers allowed.
- Pediatrics: One guardian 24/7. Two guardians allowed during visiting hours.
- Labor & Delivery: One support person.
- Surgical and Procedural Areas: One support person, for the duration of the surgery.
- Emergency Departments and Urgent Cares: Patients will be allowed one visitor for the first and last 30 minutes of treatment to assist with admission details and discharge planning. During times of high volume, to maintain physical distancing in waiting rooms, visitors may be asked to leave after triage assessment is completed (exceptions for minors and other patients with guardians).
- Clinics: Patients being seen at CoxHealth clinics may have one adult visitor (age 18 or over) during their appointment with a provider.
- Special circumstances: Visitors will be allowed for patients with special needs (development delays, inability to speak for themselves, times when medical decision making is needed outside of normal visiting hours, or life-altering news occurring outside of normal hours).
- Child/Adolescent Psych: No changes.
Visitors in the areas of the hospitals not mentioned above will not be allowed.
- Visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at entry.
- No visitor will be allowed into our facilities who shows symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
- Visitors are asked to limit your movement within the hospital to only your patient’s room and public restrooms.
- Please use good hand hygiene during your visit.
- Please do not enter the hospital if you are ill.
Please note: No one under the age of 18, with the exception of those seeking medical care, will be permitted into CoxHealth facilities.
This is an evolving situation; areas may need to temporarily limit visitors at different times during the pandemic. We want to thank the community for their understanding and cooperation in trying to help our community stay safe. If your loved one is in the hospital and you would like to send them a special card, you can use our complimentary CoxHealth CareMail service.
CoxHealth Fitness Centers
CoxHealth Fitness Centers reopened in June with specific restrictions and limited hours. Learn more about our reopening plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are CoxHealth clinics open and seeing patients?
Yes, CoxHealth clinics are ready to serve patients for emerging and ongoing health needs. We know COVID-19 concerns have made many patients apprehensive about visiting their doctor or the hospital. However, for some, delaying or neglecting medical care can be a serious risk. We want to assure you we’re prepared to care for patients in a safe environment and have quick access in our clinics and urgent cares. Please don’t delay seeking medical care when it’s needed:
We’re here and ready to see you.
Are we doing anything special from a safety perspective?
Our priority is ensuring that patients have a safe experience when they visit CoxHealth facilities. We’ve always had rigorous cleaning protocols in place, but we’ve now increased how often cleaning is done. In some cases, high-touch areas – such as door handles and elevator buttons – are cleaned four times as often as they were before.
Other efforts include:
- Screening and checking the temperature of patients and employees before they enter a CoxHealth location
- Masking all employees
- Adjusting waiting areas so that seats are at least 6 feet apart
- Requesting patients wait in their cars for appointments at some locations
- Expanding Virtual Visits and providing primary and specialty care visits from home
Who should be tested and how is the test done?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
Generally, we recommend testing if you have any of the symptoms listed above, or if you've had close contact (being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. For more guidance on what to do in your specific exposure case and when to test, contact your provider or use our Virtual Visits service.
You can get tested at one of our primary care clinics or at our mobile testing units, and average turnaround time to receive results is just over 24 hours.
What should I do if I have any COVID-19 symptoms?
COVID-19 symptoms may include cough, fever of 100.4 or greater, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, please call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call 269-INFO.
How is COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that primarily spreads from person to person, such as when someone coughs or sneezes. This happens more frequently when people are 6 feet or less apart from one another, which is why limiting the size of groups of people is important to stopping spread of the virus.
What are lasting impacts from COVID-19?
Given how new this virus is, we’re still learning about what possible outcomes are for individuals who contract it. Thankfully, there are many patients who experience no or mild symptoms. However, this virus can cause severe and fatal issues in other patients. Many of these involve respiratory distress and require hospitalization. While widespread studies have yet to be confirmed, current data shows other effects, including damage to organs and other body systems. These unknowns are one reason why it’s important to be very cautious with this virus.
What constitutes “close contact”?
“Close contact” refers to anyone who is within 6 feet of other people for a prolonged period of time and those who have been in contact with an infected individual’s secretions. In this case, “prolonged” is up to the interpretation of local health authorities looking into the situation. They determine what amount of time makes the most sense.
Why should I wear a mask in public?
Wearing a mask helps protect people around you from the virus. Given the range of symptoms related to COVID-19, there are many instances when people don’t realize they’re ill but can still pass along the virus to others. If everyone wears a mask, it helps us protect each other.
What is the effectiveness of antibody testing?
Antibody testing involves testing an individual’s blood to see if a sample contains antibodies, which are produced when someone has fought the virus. In other viruses, the presence of antibodies can mean that an individual has some immunity. It’s unknown at this time if this is true of COVID-19 or how reliable antibody testing is.
CoxHealth does not currently offer antibody testing.
Why shouldn’t groups of people gather?
There’s a period of time when people infected with COVID-19 show no symptoms or such mild symptoms that they don’t even notice – but they can still give the virus to other people. Sitting or standing in close proximity to others increases the chance of transmission, given that one cough or sneeze could infect whoever is within a fairly large space around the person.
Science is also starting to show that this virus can be spread through the air, which means that it could be passed to others for up to several hours after someone coughs or sneezes. Having groups of people in one place greatly increases the chance that someone in that group has the virus, even if they don’t know it. If they do, they could pass it to many people at one time. Avoiding gathering in groups is a good way to help reduce the possible spread of COVID-19. Group gatherings could exponentially increase the amount of cases in southwest Missouri.