With the latest COVID surge, many hospitals are seeing record numbers. Morrow County Hospital has seen an increase in positive COVID cases by 26% in the last two weeks and our county’s vaccination rate has only increased by 2% over the last month.

Many of the patients requiring hospitalization are experiencing a higher degree of illness than seen in the past. To help manage the high volume of patients, Morrow County Hospital is working to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place and maximize the experience for all COVID and non-COVID patients.

“We are concerned about the next few months as we see COVID cases increasing,” said CJ Miller, president, Morrow County Hospital. “This fourth surge is impacting the hospital and the entire healthcare system in ways not experienced before. We ask the community to understand the importance of this situation and help us manage where they are receiving care so we can help everyone who needs it, especially with the increasing number of COVID positive patients requiring hospitalization,” Miller added.

Here’s what everyone should know:

Urgent Care

• Urgent Care is available when you need immediate but not emergent care outside your primary care physician’s regular office hours, and/or when your primary care physician cannot see you right away. In-person COVID testing at Morrow County Hospital Urgent Care locations is limited to patients with symptoms.

Emergency Department

• Patients should go to the ED when they have a true medical emergency. This means a severe head injury, stroke, persistent shortness of breath or wheezing, persistent chest pain, major cuts/severe bleeding, major burns or major breaks, sprains and strains. Our emergency department is only equipped to provide COVID-19 testing to patients in need of emergency care. If you only need a COVID-19 test, go to Gettheshot.com to find a testing location in Morrow County.

COVID Vaccines

• The vast majority of hospitalized COVID patients have not received the COVID vaccine.

• Morrow County Hospital offers a COVID vaccine clinic every Thursday. Please call 419-949-3126 to make an appointment or go to https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to schedule an appointment.

• Patients may also get the vaccine through a local pharmacy retailer or the Health Department.

• The vaccine can keep people out of the hospital, allowing beds for more critically ill patients. We know that 80% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, 87%

of intensive care COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated and 97% of COVID-19 patients under the age of 50 are unvaccinated.

COVID Testing

• COVID-19 testing at Morrow County Hospital is primarily intended for people with infection or exposure concerns. If you’re experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has COVID, and have questions about COVID testing, contact your primary care provider who can help determine if testing is necessary.

• If you need proof of a negative COVID-19 test for reasons such as travel or event access, we recommend finding a testing location near you on the Ohio Department of Health website. • If you need a rapid COVID-19 test or walk-in service, find a testing location near you on the Ohio Department of Health website.

Updated visitation guidelines

Effective immediately, Morrow County Hospital has established updated visitation guidelines for all inpatient, outpatient, ED, Urgent Care and Surgical stays. All visitors will be required to wear a mask while in the facility and must be asymptomatic of COVID-19 symptoms. Visitors may not dine in the cafeteria at this time.

Inpatient Visitation Guidelines

• One designated visitor per day (no multiple visits)

• Visitors will enter through the Front entrance (Blue Entrance A) on the east side of the building between 8 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday and through the ED entrance (Red Entrance B) on the west side of the building between 6 pm and 8 pm and on weekends and holidays.

• Visitors should stay in patient’s room at all times.

• No visitors under the age of 18.

• No Visitors for COVID positive patients.

• No overnight visitors. Visitation will end at 8 pm.

• Visitors not allowed for behavioral health patients

ED and Urgent Care Visitation Guidelines

• The ED and Urgent Care departments will enforce a “no visitor” policy for COVID-19 positive patients at this time.

• Visitors will be asked to remain in their vehicles (with limited exceptions).

Submitted story