Here’s how Central Florida hospitals are screening anyone who enters hospitals amid coronovirus concerns

Visitors will be checked for symptoms, asked about travel

(AP Photo/Mohammad Ghadamali)
(AP Photo/Mohammad Ghadamali) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Visitors to Halifax Health and Orlando Health will be screened amid coronavirus concerns.

Halifax Health will now screen everyone who enters their hospitals for COVID-19, according to a release from hospital officials.

According to the release, hospital staff will ask all visitors about possible symptoms, travel to and from other countries, contact with travelers and contact with people who are either displaying symptoms of coronavirus or have been diagnosed.

[RELATED: Here’s what we know about the coronavirus cases in Florida]

Hallifax Health officials are asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to refrain from visiting the hospitals out of respect to patients and team members.

All patients at the hospital will be allowed a visitor maximum of two people, and all visitors must be over the age of 12, according to the release.

Halifax Health has not said they are requiring every guest to be tested for COVID-19, which could be a swab or blood test, only that all visitors are being screened through a series of questions.

Orlando Health said while they screen anyone who visits health care facilities about their recent travel histories, they will broaden their questions.

Here are the first two questions they will ask:

  • In the 14 days before they became ill, were they in close contact with someone confirmed to have the coronavirus
  • Additionally, did the patients travel out of the country in the 14 days before they became ill

Orlando Health said anyone who said yes to these questions will be directed to an Emergency Department for more screening.

Here are the protocols from Orlando Health once the patient arrives:

  • Patient and any accompanying family and or friends are masked and isolated in a negative pressure room
  • Only necessary personnel will enter the room
  • The Infection Prevention Department is contacted for further guidance. The Florida Department of Health and is contacted to help complete the formal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screening for the Coronavirus and determining the need for the test.
  • The patient will be tested and the test will be sent to Tampa or Jacksonville.
  • Patient care will continue as deemed appropriate by the attending physician.

Health First is also taking extra precautions at its hospitals amid the pandemic, according to President and CEO Steve Johnson.

Johnson said Health First is taking the following measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Screening visitors at all of our facilities
  • Monitoring our associates to confirm they are healthy and ready to work
  • Being prepared with the supplies needed to care for anyone who may be concerned about COVID-19
  • Testing as needed. The capability for testing through the CDC and commercial laboratories remains limited. Therefore, we continue to follow the Florida Department of Health guidelines for testing

According to Johnson, Health First is working closely with the Brevard County Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor the rapidly developing situation.

About the Author:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.