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Mid-South hospitals take steps to protect patients and staff from coronavirus

As of Friday morning (March 13), there are two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Shelby County.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several Mid-South hospitals are making changes to their visitor policies in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

(METHODIST HEALTHCARE NEWS RELEASE) Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare today announced additional precautions aimed at better protecting the safety of its patients, Associates and others in our community.

Actions include:

  • Asking those concerned about whether they may have been exposed to the Coronavirus to avoid emergency departments unless you need hospital care; 
  • Enacting new screening procedures at all its facilities; travel history, COVID-19 exposure, fever and/or respiratory illness; 
  • Limiting access points to its hospitals; 
  • Restricting the number of visitors to two per patient. Children under 12 will not be allowed to visit at this time; 
  • Temporarily suspending all on-site, non-Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare meetings, events and tours of facilities; 
  • Posting signs at clinic entrances with instructions for patients with fever or symptoms of respiratory infection to alert staff so appropriate precautions can be implemented; 
  • Encouraging individuals to visit Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare COVID-19 website for latest information. 

"Our experts have been actively preparing for COVID-19, routinely assessing and preparing in advance for all potential health risks," said Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. "To ensure that we are providing the best care to patients who need it, we want to limit unnecessary visits to the emergency department for non-urgent medical needs."

It is important to understand that unlike influenza, there is no treatment for COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 will not be hospitalized but will recover at home. CDC is encouraging patients with mild respiratory illness to stay home.

Methodist continually evaluates its processes to best meet the needs of our patients, and we are collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and local and state Health Departments. Additional precautions will be put into place as needed.

General Health Measures

As always, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses and infections, please remember to practice good overall respiratory hygiene. This includes frequent and thorough handwashing, refraining from touching your face, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, and staying home when you are sick.

Please call your primary care physician if you have been exposed to the new coronavirus or travelled internationally and have symptoms such as fever, chills or cough. Your physician will help guide you to the appropriate resources for testing and/or treatment.

For more information, please visit our Your Health by MLH Blog

If you need a primary care physician, visit methodisthealth.org/primarycare.

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St. Francis Hospitals

(TENET NEWS RELEASE) - At Tenet, we have taken significant steps to ensure we have protected our patients and staff from infection and continue to closely monitor the outbreak of the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19). We continue to work with Shelby County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to any potential COVID-19 cases that may present at our hospital.

As patients and visitors enter Saint Francis Hospital in areas such as emergency department or registration, hospital staff are questioning all of their recent travel and detailing symptoms, including fever or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or cough.

Out of an abundance of caution, effective immediately, we are changing our visitation policy until further notice. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to visit. Each patient may have two visitors enter the hospital at a time, and they must be family members. In addition, a patient that is a PUI (Person Under Investigation) or has a confirmed case of COVID-19 cannot accept visitors.


Baptist Memorial Healthcare

(BAPTIST MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE NEWS RELEASE) - Baptist is strongly committed to the health and well-being of our patients and family members, team members, physicians, and community. With a growing number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID -19) in the United States, it is now imperative that Baptist remains vigilant in providing a safe environment for our patients and employees.

As we are in a time of global pandemic, the following visitor guidelines are in place:

  • Any patient visitor with respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should stay home. Special circumstances may be considered.
  • We strongly recommend limiting the number of visitors to two per patient.
  • Hospitals should use discretion and may screen visitors for signs and symptoms of infection.

 While you are a visitor:

  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Or, sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet).

Visitors to COVID-19 patients will be limited on a case by case method.


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Coronavirus in Context: 

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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