West Hawai‘i Hospitals Change Policy to Address Coronavirus

March 8, 2020, 1:12 PM HST (Updated March 12, 2020, 6:29 PM)
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Kona Community Hospital registration entryway. PC: KCH

Kona Community Hospital and Kohala Hospital began routing all visitors through a single point of entry starting Saturday, March 7.

All visitors to both hospitals will be screened for flu-like symptoms prior to being allowed access to the hospitals, according to a West Hawai‘i Region Hospitals press release. Symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose and or shortness of breath.

Additional restrictions limit visitors to one per patient, and no children under 12 years of age will be allowed to visit patients.

“We’ve implemented these restrictions at Kohala Hospital for the safety of our patients, staff and visitors,” said Gino Amar, Kohala Hospital Administrator.

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The restrictions were implemented as part of an ongoing emergency preparedness plan to manage potential COVID-19 cases, the release said. The measures are intended to protect the wellbeing of the hospitals’ patients, employees and their communities.

Hospital leaders work closely with the local department of health and follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for the detection and management of COVID-19, the release continued. Frontline staff members also routinely review guidelines and best practices for monitoring and containing potential infectious diseases, including COVID-19, the hospital said.

“Being prepared for an infectious disease like COVID-19 is a hospital-wide effort,” said West Hawai‘i Region Acting CEO, Linda Rosen, MD, MPH. “We are continuously scenario planning in order to respond swiftly and appropriately.”

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