Hospital addressing concerns over virus

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

By Scott Loftis

Mercy Hospital Berryville is taking several steps to address concerns over COVID-19, a hospital official said Monday.

Cody Qualls, executive director of development, corporate and community relations for Mercy Hospital Berryville, said the hospital is restricting access to one entryway, through the emergency room entrance, and is screening individuals at that entry.

A staff member at the emergency room entrance will ask a series of questions about travel and possible exposure, Qualls said, and conduct temperature checks on everyone entering the hospital.

Qualls said the hospital has temporarily closed its cardiac rehabilitation unit and the hospital cafeteria has been closed to the public.

The hospital’s emergency room remains remains open around the clock and the inpatient wing is also open, as are outpatient services.

Qualls said the hospital does have testing capability for patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

“If you’re truly symptomatic — cough, fever and possible difficulty breathing — we can provide testing here through the ER,” Qualls said. “If you’re displaying those symptoms, you’ll be asked to put on a mask and tested according to state protocols.”

Mercy Berryville is also requesting that visitors be limited to one per day for each patient and requesting each visitor be at least 15 years of age.

In emergent situations and end-of-life situations if that were to occur, we’re always going to be sensitive to that,” Qualls said.

The hospital also is ending its visiting hours two hours earlier than normal, Qualls said. Visiting hours now end at 7 p.m. rather than 9 p.m.

Lisa Holt, administrator of the Carroll County Health Unit, said Monday that the unit had no plans to close. She advised individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms to contact their primary care physician by phone for instructions.

“Pick up the phone and call your doctor,” Holt said. “The key is don’t walk into the ER. Don’t walk into your doctor’s office. Call them first and let them guide you.”

The Arkansas Department of Health said Monday that 22 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arkansas. There have been no positive tests in Carroll County, although a map published on the department’s website indicates there has been at least one negative test in the county.

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