As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread and our nation is experiencing a national emergency, Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) is continuing to make the health and safety of our employees, patients and community our top priority. TGMC has implemented its Emergency Preparedness Plan which ensures that we can treat patients in the most caring way and continue to have supplies and equipment to ensure the highest quality care.
While COVID-19 is new, preparing for responses to disasters is not new to TGMC. Emergency preparedness training is a year-round activity that is continually practiced. TGMC treats patients with a variety of infectious diseases daily. These patients are isolated and treated in appropriate spaces by trained staff using specialized equipment.
“This is what we do best and when our staff shines the most, when we take care of our patients and our community during their most difficult times,” said Phyllis Peoples, President and CEO. “Healthcare is a calling and it takes amazing people to do what our physicians and staff are specially trained to do while handling all types of emergency situations, as well as providing the highest quality care,” Peoples added.
TGMC is following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended infection prevention and control practices, including minimizing the chance for exposure, placing any patient with known or suspected COVID-19 in a separate location, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare personnel (gloves, gowns, masks), and educating staff, patients and the community on proper hand hygiene. “Even though the situation is very fluid, we are continuing to manage it and keep our patients and staff safe,” Peoples explained.
Currently, TGMC is on a Visitor Restriction Policy, as mandated by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). Patients will only be allowed to have one visitor, who is essential to their care, accompany them in the hospital to help lessen the spread of the virus.
According to national, state and local health officials, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still very low. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus have mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization. Based on what we have seen so far, most people who become infected with COVID-19 will not become seriously ill, and will therefore not need hospitalization. However, those with serious illnesses may need hospital care, including respiratory support.
TGMC strongly encourages prevention by following the same preventive measures used during the normal cold and flu season: Wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home from work or school if you are sick to prevent the spread of infection. TGMC is also recommending to practice “social distancing” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
For additional information, the Louisiana Statewide 211 Network has been instituted to answer questions about COVID-19. Simply dial 211 or text the key word LACOVID to 898211. Also, an assessment center for individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 has been set up at the TGMC/OCHSNER Urgent Care center at 5922 W. Main St, Suite A, Houma, Louisiana.
Many community members have been contacting TGMC to ask if there is anything they can do to help our staff during this time. There is an opportunity for members of our community who like to sew to give back by sewing masks for our clinical staff. Although we have supplies now we always like to stay ahead of the need in as many ways as possible. For additional information please call 873-4616.
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