Public Health Announcement: Coronavirus
patients and mothers who will be delivering soon. This, coupled with providing all staff and patients with a mask to wear while in the building, will further help keep staff and other patients safe. Additionally, testing is now more widely available than ever before. Those wanting to be tested can find a testing site near them at https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/testing-sites
In-house testing is in full swing! We have a limited number of these tests with no projected date of when we may receive more, so these tests are being prioritized for patients who are suspected of having COVID and are going to be admitted. This helps us admit the patient to an appropriate unit, and also helps preserve PPE because we do not have to wait 24-48 hours for results. For all other testing, we are still utilizing RML, with great turnaround time for results.
Governor Stitt issued a directive last week that the state may begin “reopening”. Several business have been cleared to open, and elective surgeries are resuming. CCMH is beginning the process of scheduling and performing elective surgeries, while continuing to monitor several situations (such as available PPE, and any potential spikes in COVID activity as a result of communities reopening). All patients undergoing elective procedures will be tested for COVID prior to their procedure. Patients undergoing procedures will also be allowed one “family advocate” in the building during surgery – this individual, of the patient’s choosing, will have to undergo the same screening as all other visitors, and will have to wear a mask while in the facility. This advocate will not be able to stay with the patient after the patient is admitted, at this time.
Allowing visitors for hospitalized patients will happen soon, but for now visitor restrictions are still in place.
CCMH continues to employ new up-to-date practices in the fight against COVID-19. We have two very exciting announcements! First, CCMH has recently acquired the ability to test for COVID-19 in-house! CCMH is now able to test patients in the ED for COVID-19 before being admitted to the hospital. The chemicals needed to run these tests are very limited, so we are only able to test those patients that need hospital admission. These tests allow for quicker placement of patients, and lets us continue to preserve PPE within the hospital.
Second, CCMH recently partnered with the Mayo Clinic in a clinical trial using COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma for acutely-ill patients. This plasma comes from patients who have already recovered from COVID-19, and contains antibodies that can help fight the virus. The process of using convalescent plasma has been known to the scientific community for decades, but the number of COVID-19 recovered patients has finally gotten high enough to begin collecting this plasma. CCMH is proud to take part in this study and do the most for our patients and the Lawton community.
As of last Friday afternoon, we have tested nearly 100 patients. Twelve of those were positive. We continue to utilize 4W and ICU North as our COVID units for patients requiring hospitalization. The state of Oklahoma is rapidly expanding testing capabilities and we expect to see both the number tested and the number of positives go up in the coming weeks. Modeling does not agree on the exact time frame in which we will see our “peak”, but everything agrees this will get worse before it gets better. We are preparing in all the best ways we know how for the potential squeeze on our resources.
We have received many generous donations from our community lately, including donations of upgraded personal protective equipment for bedside staff. We are continuously refining our processes to further protect staff. We are working hard to keep you safe, and we are thankful for your selflessness and bravery in taking care of all patients who need the help only we can provide. We encourage staff to communicate with leadership if they have concerns or questions, so that issues can be addressed and processes can be revised quickly when necessary
CCMH Additional Screening Process Changes
Starting today, outpatient services will close at 4:00pm daily. CCMH has made additional screening process changes for patients coming into the Outpatient Center or Tomlinson Medical Complex entrances for scheduled appointments and services for everyone’s safety. We are asking patients to drive up to either designated entrances to meet with our initial greeters. The greeter will do a general well check on the patient who has a clinic, lab, radiology or outpatient therapy visit. Other visitors will need to stay in the vehicle once parked until the patient’s appointment is finished. Each individual will be given an entry pass, either pink or blue depending on if they’re needing assistance to come into the facility and then their temperature will be taken. The benefits of this screening process is to allow an opportunity for customer service right at the entry point and it helps to regulate unnecessary entry into the facility. We are taking these precautionary measures for the safety of our patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COMANCHE COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL ANNOUNCES TWO POSITIVE CASES FOR COVID-19 IN COMANCHE COUNTY
CCMH healthcare officials received COVID-19 test results back this morning of two patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Comanche County.
One patient tested through hospital screening protocol at CCMH and the other patient was screened and tested at the Assessment drive-through Center. Both patients and staff that have been in contact with these patients have been notified and all safeguards remain in place.
CCMH is in direct contact with the Comanche County Health Department who is taking the lead in the case investigations.
These two positive test results came in after the daily numbers are reported to the Oklahoma State Health Department and may not reflect in today’s report that is released.
Since January, Comanche County Memorial Hospital has been working diligently to take precautionary measures for the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to follow the CDC guidelines and use best practices to protect our patients, staff and community.
As a reminder, NO visitors are permitted in the hospital with very few exceptions such as end-of-life situations.
If you have general questions about coronavirus please call the Oklahoma State Department of Health call center at 1-877-215-8336.
If you have minor symptoms please call your primary care provider. (If you do not have a primary care provider you can call our referral line at 510-7030.)
If you are experiencing shortness of breath, respiratory conditions or fever please call the Emergency Department a head of time to let them know you are on your way.
Here are steps you can take to protect your health and the health of those around you:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice social Distancing.
- Stay home and away from others if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
For more information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), please visit the following sites:
New Hospital Visitor Restrictions Start March 24
The new policy further limits visitors to the CCMH facility. Starting Tuesday, March 24, NO visitors will be allowed for patients in the hospital with a few exceptions. One adult visitor will be permitted for labor and delivery, NICU and pediatrics for the entire length of the hospitalization. Exceptions will be made for Emergency Surgeries during the time of the procedure, and once the patient awakes, visitors will need to leave. Exceptions are also being made for end-of-life situations. These visitors will still be screened in the hospital’s front lobby. These new restrictions on patient visitation are in place to protect our patients, their families, and our CCMH healthcare providers and staff, and to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19.
Starting Today All Employees Are Being Screened For Temperatures
All CCMH, MMG and LCHC employees will be screened for temperatures when arriving to work. Most employees will be screened in their departments. Others will be screened at the front lobby entrance, Outpatient Center entrance, and the TMC entrance. Please check with your supervisor or manager to find your screening location.
Text Alerts for Clinic Visits
Patients can now send a text message to a specific phone number that will be listed on each clinic’s door that they have arrived for their appointment. The clinic will acknowledge the patient and tell them to wait in their car until they get a text for them to come in. Each clinic will be calling and letting patients with upcoming appointments know that this texting capability is available.
Memorial Medical Group is excited to announce that we are now able to offer televisits. Your provider may be contacting you to reschedule your appointment to be done via telemedicine if medically appropriate. These visits can be done from your home computer with a webcam, or from our HEALOW App on your cell phone or tablet. When your appointment is changed to a televisit, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join your visit all from the comfort of your home.
Weekend hours for the Assessment drive-through Center are 2pm-4pm!
Elective, non-urgent surgical procedures postponed
This recommendation comes from both the Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The decision was not taken lightly as we know it will inconvenience patients, impact our staff and providers. The reasons for postponing are two-fold: helping in our efforts to preserve supplies and personal protective equipment and reducing the risk of coronavirus spread.
Emergency and urgent surgeries and procedures will continue. These cases include any procedures that should be done right away or within a 4-week time period because postponing could negatively affect the patient’s health. Staff will be contacting patients as their cases become eligible for potential postponement. You can still enter The Outpatient Center for routine blood work. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Assessment Drive-Through Center opening tomorrow at 2pm at 3811 West Gore
Starting March 19 at 2pm until 6pm Comanche County Memorial Hospital and Lawton Community Health Center will open up an Assessment Drive-Through Center at 3811 West Gore for those who are experiencing a fever. We are asking people to please self screen first – if you do not have a fever, please do not visit the assessment center at this time. People will be screened in their vehicles throughout the entire process for everyone’s safety. Signage will be posted on the corner of Gore and Arlington. Drivers will follow around the back side of the Lawton Community Health Center Clinic by using Arlington street. Directional signage will also be posted on where to enter for step one screening. Initial screening will include temperature checks and other vitals to determine if you will move on to the next screening station. Registration will take place for those moving through the process; this process may include a flu test if necessary and, for those who meet the criteria, a specimen for COVID-19 may be collected and sent for testing. COVID-19 testing is still not widely available for everyone who wishes to be tested. Please bring your identification and any insurance information with you to the Assessment Drive-Through Center. It will be open from 2pm – 6pm daily as long as supplies last.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital continues to monitor the ongoing coronavirus situation. We are following all guidelines and recommendations from local and state agencies and reputable sources of best practices. While we have restricted visitor access to the facility to one support person per patient for most patients, we continue to work with our community to ensure our patients feel protected but not alone.
CCMH Visitation Restrictions starting Tuesday, March 17th.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital remains committed to serving our community’s needs while keeping our patients, staff and visitors safe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Beginning Tuesday, March 17th at noon, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will be restricting visitation to all patients in the hospital. Each patient will be allowed one support person who will be welcome to visit between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM. Outside of these hours, visitation exceptions will be made for some situations, such as during end-of-life. These support persons will be screened at the point of entry into the facility for symptoms. If they are symptomatic, they will not be allowed entry into the facility. We encourage family and friends of our patients to utilize phone calls and video calls during this time to support the emotional well-being of their loved one.
Employees are encouraged to check their temperature daily prior to coming to work. If an employee has a temperature greater than 100.4, or develops respiratory symptoms such as coughing, they should stay home and contact their manager. All Outpatient Services such as appointments and procedures are still taking place.
In preparation for the potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our area, we also implemented precautionary measures to our Emergency Department last Friday. To help reduce the potential transmission of any respiratory illness, we designated two areas for check-in at our ED. Upon entrance to the ED, individuals with flu-like symptoms will be directed to the west lobby and all other emergencies will be directed to the east lobby.
Due to recent CMS guidance, McMahon Tomlinson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is restricting all unnecessary visitors (including families) from entering the facility with exceptions to end-of-life situations. Our Silver Linings inpatient unit has also restricted all visitors as well.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital is currently working to establish an Assessment drive-through Clinic off campus later this week to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. More information to come on this initiative.
To date, there have been no positive test results for the coronavirus at CCMH.
Yesterday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health removed the pre-authorization requirement for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. There are also several more third party labs coming online with the ability to test for coronavirus. This means testing is now more accessible than ever before.
With the increase in testing nationwide, we will begin to see a spike in cases. We want to stress that this increase in cases is normal and expected with an increase in testing. Testing is a critical piece of containment strategy. It is important to know who may be infected so the spread can be contained. We want to assure the public that we have been anticipating this increase in positive cases and have plans in place to care for those who need medical care.
We would like to remind our community that you do not need to come to the hospital to be tested. This can be done on an outpatient basis in coordination with county and state department of health. For those who have questions or concerns about coronavirus, or who think they may need to be tested, the state department of health has set up a hotline 877-215-8336.
At Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Memorial Medical Group, Lawton Community Health Center clinics and McMahon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, we continue to monitor the rapidly changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. As we partner with the Centers for Disease Control, the American Hospital Association and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, we are prepared should a case of COVID-19 present at one of our facilities. However, we are asking for the public’s help to prevent the spread of the virus in our communities!
We are asking that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms (Primarily fever above 100.4, cough or shortness of breath) to call your healthcare provider BEFORE physically heading to a clinic or the Emergency Department. We will work with you on the best way to be seen for care without potentially exposing other patients and families during your visit. This type of social distancing has shown to lower the exposure rate and will help us curb contamination that could affect others visiting our facilities for care.
If an individual is seriously ill and requires urgent attention because of significant respiratory symptoms (severe shortness of breath) or other critical symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention at our Emergency Department.
We also want you to know that we have changed the Triage in our Emergency Department. We are separating patients with flu-like symptoms into one area. Other patients will be seen in a different portion of the Emergency Department. We believe these changes will also further safeguard patients and staff.
Because of the National Declaration of Emergency status for COVID-19, we may need to expand our bed and care capacity. We are considering options for this. We will keep you informed. Our community depends upon our talents and expertise. It is our desire to remain the Healthcare Facilities of choice for excellence in healthcare!
IN THE FUTURE:
We are also encouraging the limitation of visitors to patients that are in the hospital. We do not want our patients to be exposed to additional germs. We are encouraging all visitors to park in our garage and will be asking staff NOT to use the parking garage for ANY parking. All levels of the garage should be used for visitors. We will be encouraging visitors for hospital patients to enter through the Main Lobby.
We want you to know how important you are to maintaining healthcare in our facilities!
Scott Michener, MD, CMO
Chris Ward, RN, MSN, CNO
Comanche County Memorial Hospital remains committed to serving our community’s needs while keeping our staff, patients, and visitors safe. We have screening and isolation protocols in place for patients who may present with concerning signs or symptoms. These protocols are being continuously refined as new information comes in from our national, state, and local health partners. Communication is ongoing between senior leadership, infection prevention specialists, and staff on new developments and recommendations. We remain ready and able to provide care to patients and families with a wide variety of health concerns.
Our partnership with the community is vital to our success as the leading healthcare organization in our area. We encourage those who feel they may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) to first seek advice from their primary care physicians by telephone. Testing is available through the Oklahoma State Department of Health for individuals who meet criteria, but it is not necessary for this testing to be performed in a hospital setting. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has established a hotline for members of the general public who are concerned they may have been exposed and may require testing. This call center will help guide individuals on current CDC recommendations. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 7 PM, and Saturday, 9 AM to 3 PM. Their phone number is 877-215-8336.
When possible, if you are seeking medical attention and have respiratory symptoms and/or a fever, and have recently traveled to a geographic area that has community spread of coronavirus, please call ahead and notify the clinic, urgent care, or emergency department of your impending arrival. This will allow these medical facilities to appropriately prepare a place for you so as not to expose others.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital is working tirelessly to keep our community safe and informed.
March 5, 2020
COVID-19, otherwise known as the latest novel coronavirus, is on everyone’s mind (and news) these days. At Comanche County Memorial Hospital, we have been intensively preparing for this new illness, both internally and with our community partners. We are ready to serve the community’s needs and also to help you, our community family, navigate these concerning times.
Many people are under the impression you must go to the hospital if you have or think you have, COVID-19. This is not the case. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, home is the safest place for you! In the event you need to be tested for COVID-19, this can be done without you having to come to the hospital. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 but have no symptoms, seek advice from your primary care provider.
If you are sick and need to be seen, please call your primary care provider first. Your primary care provider can assist you with symptoms over the phone, and determine if you need to be seen for further follow-up. If you choose to seek treatment at an urgent care center, please call before arriving and tell them of your concerns (such as recent travel to a high-risk area or exposure to someone with COVID-19) so that they are prepared for your arrival. If you do not have a PCP then you can call our physician referral line to get a provider at 580-510-7030.
When to Seek Emergency Care
If you are having trouble breathing, chest pain, or are suffering similar emergent symptoms, please seek emergency care.