Good Shepherd Announces Changes Amid Recent COVID-19 Outbreaks

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With recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Umatilla County and the potential for a surge in patients, Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) has reinstated their Incident Command System, which is a structure used for preparation, training and mitigating all types of emergencies.

GSHCS has used the structure since the state of Oregon and federal government declared States of Emergency last March.  In addition to this structure, GSHCS has implemented key changes within the hospital.

“We have temporarily moved our Treatment Center and Good Shepherd Cancer Center services to the Day Surgery wing in our Surgical Services Department and the original space those services occupied on Unit C is now a dedicated COVID-19 unit,” said President & CEO Dennis Burke.

The dedicated COVID-19 unit has a total of 12 beds and four more beds can be sectioned off temporarily in the Medical/Surgical Unit for overflow.  The addition of this COVID-19 unit reduces facility risk of transmitting communicable diseases to high-risk patients and is compliant with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) top recommendations.  The move also frees up ICU beds and ensures the safety of healthcare personnel.

“These interdepartmental moves will allow us to better accommodate our patients safely.  Like other communities around us, we are beginning to see a rise in active COVID-19 cases, with a potential for increased hospitalizations,” said Burke. “Our health care system has been preparing vigilantly for response adjustments such as these, should the need arise, and we are judiciously monitoring our Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) our staff would need to care for an influx of patients.”

The Treatment Center (wound care therapy, infusion therapy, injection services and others) and Good Shepherd Cancer Center services (oncology/hematology) will continue serving patients in their temporary location in the Surgical Services Department on the Main Floor of the hospital.  Treatment Center and Cancer Center patients should park closest to the Day Surgery Entrance and enter there for easier access to their appointments.

The GSHCS visitation policy continues to be limited, allowing only one visitor per patient for those patients who do not have COVID-19 and are not under investigation for the virus.  This includes maternity patients who may have one support person to be with them through labor, delivery and postpartum recovery.  If you are the designated visitor, you must be age 16 or older and healthy (no cold or flu-like symptoms and no fever).  Different or additional rules may apply in some areas of the hospital including our Critical Care Unit and Family Birth Center.

In-person visitors are still not permitted for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or those being tested for the virus, with only the following exceptions:

  • Maternity patients may have one support person with them through labor, delivery and the initial postpartum recovery time. The support person must be at least 16 years old and will be screened to be sure they are in good health (no cold or flu-like symptoms and no fever). Additional safety steps may apply for the care of newborns.
  • Pediatric patients (patients under age 18) may have one parent or legal guardian, or an adult designated by the parent or legal guardian, with them during their time in the hospital.
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays and who rely on a family member or guardian for their safety may have that person with them during their hospital stay.
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care are allowed two screened visitors.

Patients and guests can expect to continue being screened upon entry into GSHCS facilities with quick temperature checks and health questions prior to their care, and will see social distancing measures in all waiting areas.  Along with the CDC and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recommendation of mask usage in public settings, GSHCS requires all patients and visitors coming to campus to bring your mask or appropriate face covering with you, and will provide a mask to those that do not have one upon entering our facilities.  Community members are strongly encouraged to continue being diligent with physical distancing, hand hygiene and wearing a mask when appropriate.

All Education Department classes have been scheduled to occur via video conference indefinitely and community members may call 541-667-3509 or email healthinfo@gshealth.org with any questions.  Upcoming Education classes are posted to Good Shepherd’s website. 

Good Shepherd Pharmacy and Home Medical Equipment divisions will continue to provide curbside deliveries.  Community members may call the Good Shepherd Pharmacy at 541-667-3652 to arrange for curbside (park at Entrance “C” on campus) or free home delivery of their prescriptions, including over-the-counter items.  Calling ahead to Good Shepherd Home Medical Equipment at 541-667-3477 can allow for inventory checks, payment and to arrange for curbside pickup during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) at 435 NW 11th Street in Hermiston.

For up-to-date GSHCS information, please visit the GSHCS Facebook page or www.gshealth.org.  For general COVID-19 questions, community members may call the OHA hotline by dialing 211 from a cell phone (not a landline).  If a community member believes they have been infected by COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms such as fever or respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath), please call ahead to your primary care physician’s office, Good Shepherd Urgent Care at 541-567-2995 and/or Umatilla County Public Health at 541-278-5432.  For medical emergencies, dial 911.

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