The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Sep. 18, 2020

VW Health adapts to COVID-19 pandemic

VW independent/submitted information

The staff at Van Wert Health is working hard to monitor and adapt to the ever-changing situation with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in order to care for patients in the safest way possible, protect caregivers, contain the spread of the virus within the region, and provide the most up-to-date information to the public.  

Hospital staff members are treating the COVID-19 outbreak as an emergent situation and have assembled an internal team of leaders, physicians, an infection prevention specialist, and many more who are working with all of the hospital offices to create protocols and new workflows for COVID-19.  Many of the practices related to COVID-19 are the same as for influenza, and the hospital is using its best infection prevention practices to protect patients, visitors, physicians, and staff.

“Van Wert Health’s team of physicians and healthcare professionals include experts with extensive experience in caring for patients with infectious diseases and in activating comprehensive, response management plans when public health threats develop,” said Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Neuschwanger. “Our team is well prepared if there are 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnoses in our region.” 

Tightened Visitor Restrictions

In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious diseases to protect patients and staff members, and in accordance with guidance from the Ohio Hospital Association, on Friday, March 20, Van Wert Health has implemented the following revised visitation policy: 

  • Intensive Care and Acute Care Units: No visitors allowed for adult patients.  
  • Pediatrics: Two authorized adult visitors will be allowed for the duration of a patient’s stay. 
  • Maternity: For mothers laboring and delivering, they will be allowed one visitor to be with them throughout their stay.
  • Emergency Department: One authorized parent/guardian per pediatric patient.
  • Patients facing end-of-life: We will work with families to ensure that they are able to be with their family member.
  • Patients who require assistance: One visitor may accompany adult individuals with special needs.
  • Case by case exceptions may be made if needed.  

Hospital staff members encourage people to remain in contact with their loved ones through phone calls, texting, video chats, etc., and thank the community for helping maintain a healthy environment for everyone at the hospital.  

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

For those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, cough, or minor shortness of breath, and are otherwise healthy and not experiencing a medical emergency, the medical staff recommends they manage their symptoms from home.  Unless it’s an emergency, to reduce the risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home. Do not go to work or public places.  

“The majority of people who will be exposed to COVID-19 will experience mild to no symptoms,” said Van Wert Health physician George Trimble, M.D. “Just because you are not feeling well, does not mean you have COVID-19.  Please follow all of the recommended precautions and if you are not feeling well, consult your primary care physician first or call the helpline.”  

Some infections may progress into pneumonia or bronchitis, however, while individuals more at risk include the elderly and those with compromised immune symptoms.

Anyone experiencing extreme shortness of breath or another medical emergency should seek care at the closest Emergency Room. 

Dedicated COVID-19 Helpline

Patients with questions about their symptoms or unsure if they should seek care should call their primary care physician or call the Van Wert Health COVID-19 helpline, which is now available 24 hours daily at 419.203.9161.  

The possibility of having a contagious illness can be scary.  Our team at Van Wert Health is working together with federal, state, and local organizations to identify and provide care to patients while avoiding spread of the illness in the community.  

“Seeing the community rally around and support each other during the COVID-19 outbreak has been truly humbling and inspiring. Thank you to everyone at Van Wert Health for your continued resilience, hard work, and determination,” shared Neuschwanger.

POSTED: 03/20/20 at 4:29 pm. FILED UNDER: News