Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) has resumed elective procedures, non-emergent surgeries and preventative health care services in accordance with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) criteria for reopening and the Governor’s Executive Order No. 20-22.
Hospital officials say the decision was made in light of the fact that Oregon’s epidemiological curve is considered flattened and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) capacity is intact, with no significant prevalence rate of COVID-19 hospitalized cases in Umatilla County.
“Our health care system is vigilant and prepared should we see a spike in the prevalence of COVID-19 hospital admissions and/or deaths in our county and we have met the criteria set forth by the state and OHA in order to ramp up our services again,” said Marketing & Communications Director Caitlin Cozad.
“The stringent reopening criteria included a restriction that hospitals not exceed more than a maximum of 50 percent of their pre-COVID-19 volumes in order to continue to protect PPE capacity and allow for a graduated increase through each phase until we are back to some normalcy,” said President & CEO Dennis Burke.
Phase Two of reopening is on the horizon for Oregon hospitals beginning June 1. GSHCS plans to ramp up to 75 percent of pre-COVID-19 volumes aligned and compliant with OHA guidelines.
“The safety of our patients, staff and guests is our top priority as we have implemented several protective measures in each of our service lines to provide care safely,” said Burke.
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. Departments have added time between healthcare procedures and activities to allow for cleaning and disinfecting compliant with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Many of GSHCS services will continue to be offered virtually by video or telephone appointments to allow patients to receive their care from home.
Along with the CDC and OHA recommendation of mask usage in public settings, GSHCS encourages 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.
Though still limited, the GSHCS visitation policy has now been adjusted to allow 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.
“We recognize that visitation by family and friends can be an important therapeutic tool in the healing process, so we are pleased to be able to offer limited visitation safely with these restrictions in place,” said Cozad. “We also continue to encourage our patients to consider using phone calls and video chat (FaceTime, Skype, etc.) to be in touch with loved ones, and our staff will assist with technology connection when needed.”
More services will be available to patients come June 1, including preventative medicine, screenings and well-checks. Services such as Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy and Speech & Language Pathology have all prepared diligently to resume safely.
“We are excited to open up more of our healthcare services and want to remind our community not to delay your care. Our health care system is open, safe and here for all your care needs,” said Burke.
Education Department classes have been scheduled virtually indefinitely and community members can call 541-667-3509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. All Education classes are posted to Good Shepherd’s website. Many past classes and health education videos are posted to Good Shepherd’s YouTube Channel.
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 St. 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 your primary care physician’s office and/or Umatilla County Public Health at 541-278-5432. For medical emergencies, dial 911.