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Coronavirus Updates

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COVID-19 Q&A

May 26: We’re still open

We’re (still) open and slowly finding our new normal.

Beginning May 26, Paris Clinic patients can enter through the main clinic entrance under the overhang. The hospital entrance remains open for those utilizing hospital-based services. Handicap parking spots are available but shared, as curbside appointments continue. Both entrances are open Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 5 pm. After 5 pm and during weekends patients must enter through the Emergency Room’s ambulance entrance (circle drive under the awning). Note that patents—coming to the hospital or clinic—continue to be screened at both entrances.

As always, our providers are seeing patients at our Paris, Chrisman, and Oakland clinics, as well as EZ Care locations in Paris and Marshall. Telemedicine and curbside services are available for those who wish to use them. Hospital departments are open, though some have modified processes to prioritize the safety of patients and staff. Inpatient visitor restrictions are still in place, but continue to be evaluated.

As we continue to manage healthcare operations through this pandemic, we encourage you to interact with your healthcare team. Reports across the nation show that many people are experiencing declining health as they avoid the healthcare industry.

Our patient’s safety is our utmost priority and we continue to have a number safety measures in place throughout our organization:

  • Screening all patients and staff before entering
  • Implementing social distancing throughout our facilities
  • Offering masks to those entering our facilities
  • Masking personnel in clinical areas and those who cannot maintain the six feet distancing
  • Minimizing patients’ time spent in waiting areas
  • Increasing our cleaning frequency

May 21: A message from Ollie Smith, President & CEO

We have learned that one of our fellow employees has tested positive for the coronavirus and is recovering at home. Our thoughts and prayers are with this person, with hopes of a speedy recovery.

As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, the safety of our patients and staff remains our highest priority. While we have a responsibility to inform you of this situation, we also have a responsibility to protect the employee’s privacy.

This was a community-acquired infection, meaning this infection was acquired outside of the hospital. Our immediate response was to test all exposed staff, including providers in the department. Additional precautions have been implemented to mitigate further risk. All patients and staff have been notified if these changes affect them.

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available. While we work to keep you informed, please remember that the individual has the right to privacy.
In the meantime, I want to assure you that we are taking all safety measures to protect you. These include:

Our employees are screened daily before entering the facility.

  • All employees are wearing masks in patient care areas.
  • Waiting room seating has been modified to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • High-touched surfaces are being sanitized more frequently.
  • Ongoingly, employees who have suspected exposure are tested via nasal swab.

The coronavirus is an ongoing concern to everyone, including Edgar County and surrounding communities. As a reminder, when test results are reported, they are reported in the county in which the individual resides.

We all must continue to do everything we can to minimize the risk to our community. At Horizon Health we remain committed to serving you in the safest manner possible. As we do, we continue to be here for you – our friends, our neighbors, our family.


May 20: Drive-Thru Anibody Testing

Horizon Health will host its first drive-thru antibody testing event today (Wednesday, May 20), from 10 am to 1 pm.

A few things to note:

  • If you plan to participate, please complete the appropriate registration forms and bring them with you. These forms can be found below.
  • The charge is $75. Your insurance will be billed, which may cover all or part of the test. Money will not be collected at time of service.
  • You will be asked to turn off your vehicle before the test is performed.
  • We ask that you do not have any pets in the vehicle with you while participating in this drive-thru event.
  • We will be hosting another drive-thru antibody testing event on Wednesday, June, 3 from 10 am to 1 pm.

As a reminder, the COVID-19 antibody test is also offered at our clinics. If you are unable to participate in one of the drive-thru events, but would like to be tested, please contact your provider.

Forms

Established patients (has visited a HH provider in the last two years)
Please fill out the highlighted sections.

New patients (has not visited a HH provider in the last 2 years)


May 7: Important Updates for Patients & Visitors

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, so do we. Please note the following regarding procedures at Horizon Health:

  • The blue screening tent outside the main hospital entrance is coming down, BUT the screening process will continue. Beginning Thursday, May 7, all patients will screen into the building though the main hospital/ER entrance. Tents are temporary structures; we recognize the need to progress to a more long-term solution.
  • Patients experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will continue to be directed to the Respiratory Clinic. Those patients should call 466-4833 before they arrive.
  • Patients should wear a mask. In accordance to IDPH and CDC recommendations, we expect patients coming into our facilities to be masked. Exceptions include children under the age of 2, and those unable to tolerate masking.
  • Visitor restrictions remain in place: No visitors are permitted on the inpatient unit or in the ER. Rarely, exceptions will be made for end-of-life visits and essential caregivers. Family members of ER patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles. Clinic patients and hospital outpatients should come alone if possible. One caretaker may be permitted with children and adults that require assistance, such as surgical patients who require a driver.
  • Clinics have resumed normal hours. Options for telemedicine and curbside visits (including lab) remain. Six-foot distancing continues throughout the facility.
  • Hospital services are resuming as appropriate. Details of those procedures vary by department. If you are an active patient and have questions, please contact the appropriate department.

These changes do not mean we are taking the threat of COVID-19 lightly. We are changing our operations in order to have long-term sustainability, as we work to find our “new normal.” We continue to have increased cleaning, restrict non-essential visitors, and expand testing capacity.

Additionally, our cafeteria and gift shop remain closed.


Update May 1: EZ Care Clinics Offer Telemedicine

Beginning Monday, May 4, Horizon Health will offer telemedicine visits for its EZ Care clinics in Paris and Marshall.

EZ Care joins Horizon Health primary care clinics in Paris, Chrisman, and Oakland that now offer telemedicine visits as an option to in-person visits. Telemedicine allows patients to participate in medical visits from the comfort of their own homes using a smartphone, tablet, or computer with video capabilities and internet access.

“As people continue to be conscious of social distancing, telemedicine visits are a good option for those who need same-day care for minor illnesses but prefer to remain at home,” said Carrie Cunningham, EZ Care clinic manager.

Patients can call EZ Care at 217-463-4340 to request a telemedicine visit. At the designated appointment time, the patient will click a link from an email and the visit will begin. Visits are conducted by EZ Care providers who are physically located at the Paris location.

Telemedicine visits utilize Zoom, an internet-based communication software that is available for all electronic devices. The free app can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android). Desktop or laptop users access the Zoom website for their visit and no download is needed.

In-person, walk-in visits are still available at EZ Care in Paris and Marshall. The clinics treat minor illnesses and non-emergent conditions, such as ear, nose and throat infections, pink eye, rashes, and lacerations. Patients are treated on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of their reason for treatment or severity of the condition.

For more information about telemedicine for EZ Care visits, call 217-463-4340.


Update April 23: Testing

We have expanded our testing guidelines to the CDC’s Level 3 Priority, which means anyone exhibiting symptoms can be tested with a provider order.

We want to reiterate that testing is not the end-all, be-all for determining illness or the potential for spreading the disease. In some instances, COVID-19 testing can provide a “false negative.” This means a person can have the disease and infect someone despite a negative test. The article below illustrates this.

Masking, sheltering-in-place, and good hand hygiene remain key in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/85717


Update April 20: Horizon Health Offers Options for Patients

Telemedicine & Curbside Visits Available April 20

Beginning Monday, April 20, Horizon Health will offer curbside services. Many clinic visits, as well as lab services, will be available outside the facility. These services are in addition to telemedicine appointments, which have steadily been adopted by clinic providers over the past few weeks.

“As we work toward finding our new normal, we continue to evaluate the needs of our patients,” said Lacey Stults, clinic director. “We want to ensure we’re making ourselves available for all our patients who need care, and we understand some people are not comfortable going through the screening process required to enter the building.”

The outpatient lab and the Paris Clinic are still open for usual, in-person visits. Curbside options and telemedicine are meant to supplement the traditional processes, rather than replace them.

“Everyone is welcome to come in,” stressed Dave Galbreath, laboratory manager.

Clinic Visits

Clinic visits, regardless of type, continue to be available by calling 217-465-8411. When scheduling, your provider’s office will work with you to determine which type of visit is appropriate for you.

  • Traditional, in-person visits to the clinic—All patients must enter through the screening tent on the ER side of the building. Well visits are available from 8 am to 2:30 pm each day. Sick visits are scheduled from 2:30 to 5 pm. The Respiratory Care Clinic remains open for patients exhibiting symptoms of flu, COVID-19, or other respiratory illness.
  • Telemedicine—Patients opting to participate in telemedicine can see their providers from the comfort of their own homes. Like in-person visits, the appointment will be scheduled in advance. The app that will be used for the visit must be downloaded prior to the appointment. At the designated appointment time, the patient will click a link from an email and the visit will begin. Patients will need a smartphone, tablet, or computer with video capabilities and internet access.
  • Clinic Curbside Visits—Patients who are scheduled for a curbside appointment will enter the Paris campus on the clinic side and use one of the three designated parking spots in the handicap section of the clinic lot. Signing will direct the patient to call the clinic to make staff aware of your arrival and location, similar to pick-up processes at grocery stores and restaurants. Registration will be completed over the phone. When completed, your provider’s team will be notified that you are ready to be seen. Providers will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and meet you at your vehicle. If the provider orders lab work, the patient will be directed to the curbside lab area. In cases of inclement weather, patients may be contacted to reschedule.

Lab Services

  • Traditional, in-person visits to the clinic—The outpatient lab remains open as usual. Patients coming in for lab work must enter through the screening tent on the ER side of the building. Lab hours are Monday through Friday, 6:30 am to 6 pm, and Saturday, 7 am to noon.
  • Lab Curbside Visits by Appointment—Patients choosing to utilize lab’s curbside services should make an appointment by calling 217-466-4574. This service is available Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 4 pm, for patients age 10 and older. When arriving for the visit, patients will enter the Paris campus on the clinic side and pull into one of the three designated parking spots in the handicap section closest to that entrance. Signing will direct the patient to call, making staff aware of your arrival and location. In cases of inclement weather, patients may be contacted to reschedule.

Rehabilitation Services are also offering telemedicine services. To learn more about their processes, call 217-466-4244.


Update April 20: COVID-19 Testing

Horizon Health continues to evolve its process related to testing for COVID-19. These determinations are made as testing supplies become more readily available and government guidelines continue to widen.

At our Respiratory Care Clinic, we are now following the CDC’s Priority Level 3 testing requirements, which call for more widespread testing of symptomatic people as healthcare providers deem fit.

As we discuss testing for COVID-19, we also need to take into consideration the sensitivity of the test. It’s been widely reported that the sensitivity of these test are only about 70 percent, which means about 30 percent of people who receive the COVID-19 test will receive a false negative result. False negative means the patient has the virus, even though the test shows they do not. Note, however, that not all negatives are false negatives. Your provider will guide your treatment path based on your symptoms, regardless of your test results.

Further explanation of test sensitivity is displayed in the first 60 seconds of this video.


Update April 10: Tips to Help Seniors Feel Less Isolated

Submitted by our Senior Care team

We’re all stuck at home right now, but here’s why it’s harder on the elderly.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head, older adults living alone have often had to contend with reduced human contact and the issues that arise due to this reality, including loneliness, anxiety and depression. Now that it is imperative for seniors to stay home to stay safe, the effects of this isolation are certainly taking their toll.

Social isolation has been shown to negatively affect behavioral health, may lead to the development of physical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and obesity, and has even been linked to earlier mortality. A 2015 analysis of seventy studies involving more than 3.4 million people found that people who feel socially isolated or live alone have about a 30% higher risk of early death.

So although it’s now considered an act of love to avoid seeing older relatives, it’s equally important that you find ways to stay socially connected to them even while you keep your physical distance.

Here are 5 tips for helping the older adults in your life feel less isolated:

  • Connect in any way possible. The way seniors respond to being socially isolated often depends on their level of sophistication with technology, since video conferencing is one of the best ways to feel connected. If your family member is able to FaceTime or use programs like Zoom or Skype, use them. If this technology is beyond their abilities, a phone call will do.
  • Create a schedule. Having a routine and something to look forward to helps reduce feelings of loneliness, so set up a daily time to chat or have various family members check in on different days or times to see how they’re doing.
  • Get creative in showing you care. You may not be able to visit older relatives in person but you can talk to them through a door (staying 6 feet apart), have kids sing songs or draw pictures outside, or leave stickers on the window to remind them you’re thinking of them. If possible, deliver food and other essential items to their home. Anything that provides a reminder of how much you care will help seniors feel less lonely.
  • Encourage them to get involved in activities they enjoy. If they have hobbies like knitting or crocheting, bring them the supplies to start a new project. Adult coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, looking through old photo albums or listening to audio books are other ways to pass the time enjoyably.
  • Help them embrace letter-writing. Many seniors still enjoy old-fashioned snail mail. Not only will you boost their spirits by sending them cards, notes and letters but if you leave them with the tools to do their own writing, such as stationery and stamps, it’ll give them a means to connect with others in a comforting way as well.

Update April 9: CDC Recommends Face Masks in Public

The CDC now recommends wearing a cloth face covering (or mask) in public settings where social distancing can be difficult to maintain.

When to wear a mask

  • Shopping at essential businesses, like grocery stores or pharmacies
  • Picking up food from the drive thru or curbside pickup
  • While visiting your health care provider
  • Traveling on public transportation
  • Interacting with customers, clients, or coworkers at essential businesses
  • When feeling sick, coughing, or sneezing

Protect critical medical supplies

DO NOT use surgical masks or N-95 respirators. They are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Make your own mask

Many step-by-step tutorials are available for creating masks, including “sew” and “no sew” versions:

CDC DIY Cloth Face Coverings

US Surgeon General: How to Make Your Own Face Covering (YouTube)

JOANNE Fabric Stores

Easy No-Sew Shop Towel Mask (YouTube)

Mask use and maintenance

  • Fit the mask snugly to your face
  • Secure the mask with ties or ear loops
  • Your mask should have multiple layers but allow you to breathe without restriction
  • Machine wash and dry your mask routinely
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your mask
  • Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask

Update April 9: COVID-19 testing

We understand testing related to COVID-19 continues to be frustrating. We hear you; it’s frustrating for us too. We are caring for our friends, family, community members, and peers. Their health impacts our health.

Please understand that we are following the most recent guidance provided by the CDC and IDPH, while working within the constraints of limited testing supplies. We do believe COVID-19 exists within our community, and strongly urge everyone to continue socially distancing...even when outside and over Easter weekend. #flattenthecurve

The most recent testing guidelines provided by IDPH are as follows (4-7-2020):

  • Hospitalized (inpatients) with suspect COVID-19
  • Individuals with suspect COVID-19 who are residents of a congregate setting that serves a vulnerable population and are part of a potential cluster of COVID-19
  • Outpatients with suspect COVID-19 who are involved in front-line COVID-19 response (healthcare and public safety workers—EMS, law enforcement, firefighters)
  • Outpatients with suspect COVID-19 who are employees in residential congregate settings serving vulnerable populations

Please remember that testing does not change the course of treatment. Patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should assume they are positive and follow IDPH/CDC guidance regarding quarantine.

If you have a specific concern about the treatment you received, please let us know by calling 217-466-4857.


Update April 6

View as PDF

Update March 27: Clinic operations

COVID-19 updates seem to come hourly. As this global pandemic continues to evolve, Horizon Health is continuously evaluating their operations to follow the guidelines of professional societies and industry standards.

As the organization works to navigate these times of uncertainty, Horizon Health is working to find the balance between keeping our communities safe and honoring the governmental orders of social distance and shelter-in-place, while still providing all the necessary care for our patients.

Please note the following regarding Horizon Health’s Paris, Chrisman, and Oakland Clinics, beginning Friday, March 27, 2020.

  • New Respiratory Care Center—A portion of the Acklin-Shackelford Clinic at the Paris location is being dedicated to a Respiratory Care Center. This clinic is appropriate for patients who have acute respiratory symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19, Influenza, or related diseases, including fever, cough, tiredness, and difficulty breathing. To access this clinic, call 217-466-4833. Clinic hours are 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. A phone call prior to your arrival is required so that you can be given specific instructions.
    • A COVID-19 symptom checker is available (see link above). It’s a great place to start, should you think you are experiencing symptoms.
  • Telemedicine—Many of our providers are offering telemedicine visits. Call 217-465-8411 and ask to speak to your providers office regarding a telemedicine visit. Visits can be conducted through a smartphone or computer/tablet with internet access. Like traditional office visits, these visits are scheduled in advance and billed through insurance.
  • Keeping our patients well—In an effort to keep everyone in good health, Paris, Chrisman, and Oakland Clinics will be dedicating hours of operation for well visits and separate hours of operation for sick visits. All patients will continue to be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. A conversation with staff will determine which visit is right for you.
    • Well Visits in the mornings, from 8:30 – 11:30am
    • Sick Visits in the afternoons, from 1:30 – 5pm
  • Patient Portal—The Patient Portal is always a good option! Through the portal you can ask your provider a question, request a prescription refill, reschedule an appointment, and more. Click here to learn more.
  • Reminder regarding visitor restrictions:
    • No visitors are permitted on the inpatient unit. Exceptions will be made for end-of-life visits.
    • Clinic patients and hospital outpatients should come alone if possible. One caretaker may be permitted with children and adults that require assistance.
  • Information and questions:
    • For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, follow the Horizon Health Facebook page.
    • Check with page for updates.
    • Call 217-465-8411, and ask for clinic advisory.

Update March 26: We are accepting sewn face masks

Horizon Health is taking local residents up on their offer to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People in our communities are amazing on how they pull together during a time of crisis,” said Erin Frank, marketing manager at Horizon Health. “They know about the nationwide shortage of protective face masks and want to help by making and donating masks.”

Though Horizon Health isn’t in dire need of medical-grade face masks at this time, it will gladly accept donations of sewn masks, Erin said. Though some supplies do exist in-house, most masks cannot be ordered at this time. Current supplies may be all that is available for an indefinite amount of time.

Currently, Horizon Health is being very conservative with surgical masks and other personal protective equipment. CDC guidance continues to be referenced to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

“If we were to experience a face mask shortage, it could happen quickly and getting more could be difficult,” Erin explained. “So, having a back-up supply, even if they’re not medical-grade, would be extremely helpful."

Sewn face masks may be used throughout the hospital and community as the need arises.

How to donate

  • Cloth face masks are being accepted. See the sewing tutorial below. If you have some made that do not match this template, we’d be happy to accept those as well.
  • Elastic straps are preferred, but cotton tie straps can be used.
  • Bundle masks in no more than 25 increments in a sealed zip lock bag.
  • Drop off face masks at the Paris Community Hospital shipping/receiving dock. Ring the doorbell and someone will assistant you. Please do not enter the building.

For more information, call Erin Frank at 217-466-4287.

Horizon Health is accepting sewn face masks. If you have some made that do not match this template, we’d be happy to accept those as well.


Update March 19: Testing

Information released from the Illinois Department of Public Health states that testing is only necessary if the patient’s symptoms are severe enough to require hospitalization, or if he/she has been in contact with someone in the community who is a confirmed COVID-19 patient.

  • If you think you have the virus and are experiencing a cough or fever, it does not mean you need to see your provider or be tested.
  • It does mean that you need to socially isolate, distance yourself from others, maintain good hygiene and good cough etiquette, rest and get plenty of fluids, treat with over the counter medications, and call your provider if your symptoms worsen.
  • It’s important to understand that testing will not determine the clinical care that is delivered. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, your treatment plan will not change.

Our main goal is to stop the spread of the virus. That is why social distancing and isolation are so important.

Paris Clinic Pharmacy

Prescriptions can still be picked up, but you will need to be screened to enter the building. If you would like your prescription to be delivered, please contact the pharmacy at (217) 465-4114..


As the Coronavirus continues to spread, please note the following patient safety tips and procedural changes at Horizon Health, beginning Tuesday, March 17:

  • Anyone with symptoms of Coronavirus should call before visiting to allow adequate preparation and reduce exposure to staff and other patients. Call 217-465-8411, and ask to speak to the advisory nurse. After 5 pm, call 217-465-4141.
  • No visitors are permitted on the inpatient unit. Exceptions will be made for end-of-life visits.
  • Clinic patients should come alone if possible. One caretaker will be allowed when necessary.
  • ALL staff and visitors must be screened before entering the building. A screening tent will be set up on the ED side of the building (east) at the entrance to the Acklin-Shackelford entrance. All other entrances will be locked with one exception: patients utilizing Rehabilitation Services will be screened as they enter that area.
  • Outlying clinics will remain open for sick visits only. Note that those clinics are NOT appropriate if you feel you are experiencing Coronavirus symptoms.
  • If you have any questions or concerns at all, please call do NOT come to the hospital or clinics. . Call 217-465-8411, and ask to speak to the advisory nurse. After 5 pm, call 217-465-4141.

Cancellations/Closures:

  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab classes
  • All hospital-sponsored after-hours events
  • All appointments with visiting providers
  • Well visits and other non-essential clinic visits are being rescheduled
  • Hospital gift shop closed
  • Cafeteria closed


Patients/Visitors

Horizon Health is doing its part to protect the public from the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is spread from person-to-person through a cough or sneeze.

As a patient or visitor at our facility, please note the following:

  • Ask the right questions. When making an appointment by phone, and when physically registering as a patient, expect to be asked additional questions related to symptoms and travel.
  • Follow respiratory hygiene procedures at clinics and the hospital. If entering healthcare facilities with a cough or other symptoms, know that you will be asked to wear a mask and disinfect your hands.
  • Don’t insist on testing; your provider will determine if you need tested. Respiratory diseases are viral. Testing does not change the course of treatment. Testing kits are in low supply and not readily available.
  • Cover your cough—even at home. Cough/sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth.
  • Use general prevention. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands appropriately.
  • Stay home. Don’t visit others in the hospital. Earlier this year, we enacted temporary visitor restrictions. These restrictions are still in effect.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

What Illinois is Doing

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Stop the Spread of Germs

What to do if you're sick with COVID-19

Dr. Edward Rico discusses COVID-19 during WTWO-TV special report

Dr. Edward Rico discusses COVID-19's effects on our local communities