Atlantic General Hospital and Health System Announces Suggested Guidelines for Visitors
Guidelines released in light of increased H1N1 flu activity
Berlin, Md. – In an effort to protect the community against the
spread of seasonal and H1N1 flu, Atlantic General Hospital and Health
System announced today a set of suggested guidelines for visitors to the hospital.
The guidelines are as follows:
“We do not want to inconvenience our patients and their loved ones,
but we have established these recommended guidelines to protect our community
as much as possible from the H1N1 flu virus,” said Michaelann Frate,
director of infection control at Atlantic General Hospital. “While
we await larger supplies of the H1N1 vaccine, the best ways to prevent
the spread of the illness are to wash your hands frequently, cover your
mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid crowded public places as much
as possible when experiencing symptoms.”
- Patients should limit their visitors to no more than two to protect them
- Individuals with upper respiratory illness (cough, fever, etc.) are asked
not to visit patients.
- Children under the age of 18 are encouraged to NOT visit patients at this
time. Special accommodations will be made for end of life circumstances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that young
people are more at risk as carriers and transmitters of the seasonal flu
and the H1N1 virus.
- Individuals with Atlantic General Health System outpatient or physician
appointments are encouraged to come to those appointments without their
children under age 18, unless the appointment or health care service is
for the child.
- To reduce the risk of exposure, it is recommended that pregnant women not
visit unless seeking medical treatment.
According to the Worcester County Health Department, public health officials
expect December to be the heaviest month for H1N1 virus activity. In alliance
with health department standards, Atlantic General is encouraging those
individuals with fevers of 100 degrees or higher with a cough or sore
throat or stuffy/runny nose to stay home until symptoms go away.
ALTERNATIVE TO THE ER FOR CARE IN NON-URGENT SITUATIONS
If symptoms are not urgent but medical attention is needed it is best
to avoid the emergency department, Frate says. Atlantic General Hospital
and Health System provides several alternatives to emergency room visits
for those who cannot make an appointment with their regular provider.
The Atlantic Health Center, located on Atlantic General’s campus
across the street from the hospital, provides walk-in care Monday through
Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Beginning November 9, the new Atlantic ImmediCare walk-in clinic in the
Ocean Pines Rite Aid will also be available to the public. Patients can
see a provider seven days a week: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday
and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
One week later, on November 16, additional Atlantic ImmediCare clinics
in the Pocomoke City, Md. and Millsboro, Del. Rite Aids will also be open.
“For those with flu-like symptoms, the Atlantic ImmediCare locations
are optimal places to receive care. Patients can get in to see a provider,
pick up any over-the-counter or prescription medication they may need
and go home,” said Michael Franklin, CEO of Atlantic General Hospital.
In the meantime, the H1N1 vaccine supply is expected to increase over
the next few weeks. As it becomes more available, Atlantic General Hospital
will hold H1N1 vaccine clinics in conjunction with the Worcester County
Health Department, starting with the high risk groups: pregnant women,
healthcare workers and children with special needs.
As the vaccine becomes more widely available, those flu clinics will be
expanded to include the general public who may wish to receive the H1N1
vaccine. For more information about community vaccine clinics, call Atlantic
General Hospital’s flu hotline at 410-641-9FLU (9358).