SGMC Enhances Visitor Guidelines

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Friday, March 20th, 2020

South Georgia Medical Center is implementing additional precautions to protect its patients, family members and staff from the transmission and community spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This includes additional enhancements to its Visitor Policies that begin Friday, March 20, 2020.
In addition to policies already in place that limit the number of visitors per patient, require hand sanitizing and restricts visitors under the age of 18, the new policies will limit visitor access to certain entrances and include a visitor screening.
The visitor screening process will be required for entry and will require visitors to answer CDC recommended screening questions about previous contact with a known COVID-19 patient, respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath and have a body temperature check by an attendant. SGMC continues to discourage anyone who is feeling sick from entering the building unless seeking medical care.
In regards to access, the main entrance of South Georgia Medical Center will be relocated to the parking deck entrance. The parking deck entrance will serve as the primary visitor entrance and patient discharge exit. SGMC remains sensitive to those with limited mobility and as a result additional parking lot attendants and additional “limited mobility parking” spaces will be made available close to the new entrance.
SGMC will limit visitor access to the Parking Deck Entrance, Emergency Center, Dasher Heart Center / Outpatient testing and Pearlman Cancer Center.
According to SGMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald E. Dean, “We continue to take measured steps to ensure the public’s safety and the safety of our patients, visitors and team members. As our circumstances around the spread of COVID-19 evolve so will the measures required to minimize the spread to our patients, visitors and work force.”
SGMC enacted their Emergency Operations Plan last week. The EOP sets in motion action steps that enable the organization to mobilize needed resources to patients and team members while efficiently and safely caring for patients.
“The EOP is the frame work of our action planning and the additional visitor guidelines are an extension of our clinically led readiness team's daily planning to match our policies and practices to the COVID-19 situation as it evolves. Tremendous consideration has been given to maintaining the safest and best equipped environment possible for our patients and care teams which includes the designation of certain special care units and clinical areas for the evaluation and treatment of suspected and diagnosed COVID-19 patients; enhancements to clinical guidelines and protocols to facilitate expedient testing and treatment; and the best measures to protect our most treasured and needed asset, our employees and physicians.” Dean said.
New food service guidelines are also being implemented at SGMC as recommended by the state, local and federal authorities.
Dean continued, “The focus is about limiting community spread by implementing best practices in social distancing and surface cleaning. Our community has been outstanding in the response to previous guidelines and requests and we ask that everyone continue to maintain self-awareness, take personal responsibility and adhere to these guidelines and other recommendations to keep everyone safe and combat this pandemic.”