Submitted by Sharon Lee
The Bullock County Hospital Healthcare Authority held is normal monthly meeting on March 23, 2020. In order to maintain social distance, the meeting was held by Virtual Conference Call. Members on the call were Mr. William Hodge, Chairman, Mr. Hawthorne Reed, Ms. Patrice Hill, Ms. Monica Harris. Guests were Ms. Elizabeth Smithart, Attorney, Mr. Randy Priori, Accounting, Mr. Jacques Jarry, CEO Inmed, Ms. Sharon Lee, CEO Bullock County Hospital, Ms. Belinda Jones, DON Bullock County Hospital, Mr. Chase Caraway, Facility Management Bullock County Hospital.
The only item on the agenda was discussion of the COVID-19.
Ms. Lee and Ms. Jones reported that BCH is working closely with Bullock County EMA and Haynes Ambulance to stay abreast of the changes and recommendations of ADPH and CDC on the COVID-19. BCH currently has a single entry to the facility. Based on a recent order from the State Health Officer all hospitals cannot allow patients to have visitors other than those who may be integral to the care of the patient. All patients and employees must enter through the Emergency Department entrance and must be screened by temperature and questions in regard to recent cough, cold, shortness of breath and temperature.
Currently, Alabama has had 1832 total test submitted. 167 cases are confirmed. There is a shortage of tests currently. BCH currently does not have the ability to do any testing due to the shortage. ADPH should have 25 test sites set up by the end of the week. These tests sites will be listed on the ADPH website or by calling 1-888-264-2256.
Who should be tested?
• The patient is symptomatic with at minimum (measured or subjective fever OR cough OR shortness of breath, and
• The patient is hospitalized, or
• The patient is immunocompromised or has co-morbidities, or
• The patient age 65 years or older, or
• The patient is a healthcare worker, or
• The patient is associated with a long-term healthcare facility
If you should feel sick call your doctor and get directions on what to do next. If you’re a BCBS patient, you can now talk to your doctor by phone to find out if you need to be tested. If it’s after hours some BCBS policies offer Teladoc, a service that allows you to talk with a doctor by phone or on line. 24/7. The same is true with Medicare and some other insurance companies to talk to your doctor over the phone.
If your Doctor’s office is closed, and you don’t have access to Teladoc or a similar service, use the ADPH toll free number to see if there’s a testing site near you. If not, CALL a local urgent care center or your hospital’s emergency room.
Be sure to keep your distance from others. Remember the 6 feet rule.
Wear a mask and cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
The best thing you can do is wash your hands with soap and water and stay at home during this critical time.
Currently, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) supplies are in high demand all over the country. Ventilators are sometimes required for patients with COVID-19 and there is currently a shortage of them. These are used in facilities that have an ICU. At this time BCH has PPE supplies but like all other facilities their suppliers are running low also.