Access to Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark is being restricted
to the main entrance (pictured above), where visitors will be screened
before being allowed into the hospital.
THESE VISITOR RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN SUPERSEDED. PLEASE
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NEWARK – To protect patients and staff from the novel coronavirus,
Saint Michael’s Medical Center has put in place restrictions on
visitors to the hospital.
Saint Michael’s has also closed its entrances on Central Avenue and
Martin Luther King Blvd., though the Emergency Department entrance on
Central Avenue will remain open for patients seeking emergency care.
All visitors to Saint Michael’s must now enter through the main entrance,
where they will be screened by hospital staff who will ask if they have
traveled outside of the United States in the past two weeks, if they are
experiencing any respiratory or cold/flulike symptoms or if they have
been exposed to anyone with coronavirus or the flu.
Visitors who answer in the affirmative to any of the questions will be
asked to return home, self-quarantine and contact their primary care physician.
Visitors to the hospital must be a significant other and/or a responsible
healthcare giver and must be at least 18 years or older. Patients can
have only one visitor at a time at their bedside on both patient floors
and in the Emergency Department.
Visiting hours at the hospital are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be strictly enforced.
“While we do not have any reported cases of the virus in Newark,
we are imposing these restrictions out of an abundance of caution to protect
our patients,” said Dr. Jihad Slim, the chief of the Department
of Infectious Diseases at Saint Michael’s. “Our patients count
on us to protect them. Limiting visitors protects patients and staff from
potential exposure to the coronavirus. We hope that anyone who is visiting
understands the seriousness of the situation and why we had to put these
restrictions in place.”
New Jersey has 11 presumptive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Bergen
(5), Camden (1), Hudson (1) Monmouth (2), Passaic (1) and Union (1) counties.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday declared a State of Emergency. However, state
Health Department officials have said the risk to the general public remains
low. Residents with questions about the virus are urged to call New Jersey’s
hotline at (800) 222-1222.
For the last several weeks, Saint Michael’s has been working closely
with local, state and federal public health agencies as well as its own
health care professionals to prepare in the event of a suspected or confirmed case.
“Our staff is already well trained in the use of standard, contact
and airborne precautions in the treatment of patients with infectious
diseases,” said Dr. Slim said. “We are relying on this expertise
as we prepare for the possibility of patients with suspected or confirmed
cases of coronavirus.”
On Wednesday, the hospital is holding meetings with employees throughout
the day to provide the latest updates.
To reduce the possibility of spreading coronavirus in the hospital, all
patients who are brought into Saint Michael’s emergency room and
clinics are screened to determine if they may have a suspected case of
Saint Michael’s has an Emergency Operations Plan in place, which
includes details on how to handle a patient with a suspected or confirmed
case of coronavirus. The hospital has negative pressure rooms where patients
can be isolated, preventing the spread of infection to other patients.
Additionally, Saint Michael’s has an Emergency Operations Team that
communicates daily and has weekly meetings. Members of the team include
physicians, senior leadership, nursing, quality/risk, infection control,
security, facilities, human resources, employee health and IT.
Patients who have symptoms of the coronavirus should contact their medical
provider first. Coronavirus symptoms are similar to the flu and may include
fever, cough and shortness of breath.
While there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus yet, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) has
issued recommendations to help prevent the spread of the virus.