UPDATE: As of Sunday, March 15th, all visitors will now be restricted at ACMH.
MARCH 12, 2020 – KITTANNING, PA – On Wednesday, March 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) publicly characterized the coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. A pandemic is when an epidemic – a widespread infectious disease – spreads between countries. ACMH Hospital has enacted a comprehensive pandemic response plan to effectively contain the spread, screen and care for patients presenting with symptoms of an infectious respiratory disease and meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With a growing number of cases being diagnosed in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the concurrent presence of influenza, ACMH Hospital officials today announced temporary restrictions on patient visitation in order to protect our community, patients and staff. The new policy limits the number of visitors to one per patient. ACMH further discourages large groups of visitors from congregating in waiting areas. Well wishes and get-well greetings may be sent to in-patient loved ones via a phone call or with an E-Greeting, sent through the ACMH Hospital webpage. The ACMH Snack Bar will also be going to limited hours, opening from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
ACMH is also asking individuals who may be sick themselves, including those experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat - to not come to the hospital, but instead call their provider first, unless they are seeking emergent medical treatment. The key is to not panic but seek care if you need it. Furthermore, we are discouraging walk-in appointments at our physician office practices. If a patient has a concern, they are encouraged to call the office for instructions.
“While ACMH Hospital does not currently have any patients under observation for the coronavirus, we have been proactively preparing and reviewing with experts from the fields of infection prevention, emergency medicine and all other applicable specialties to ensure a cohesive, coordinated response to the ever changing situation,” stated John Lewis, ACMH Hospital President and CEO. “Our first unified focus is on containment, preparation, prevention and conservation of resources. We are joining the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health in advising persons to stay at home, if possible, and avoid large crowds. It is also worth noting that proper hand washing remains a primary first defense in combating the spread of any virus.”
ACMH officials are encouraging area residents to seek out current information and frequent updates on the ACMH Hospital website (www.acmh.org) where links and up-to-date information from the CDC and the PA Department of Health can be found.
“Patient safety and protecting our staff members throughout the community is paramount,” said Dr. James Backstrom, ACMH Chief Medical Officer. “As an organization, we are taking every precaution to curb the spread of COVID-19 and coordinate the collective efforts and readiness of the medical community.”
ACMH leadership is dedicated to ensuring a successful, aligned medical response to this evolving virus and thanks the community members in advance for their understanding and cooperation as ACMH deals with this healthcare challenge.