CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

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 we deal with this healthcare challenge.

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019

ACMH HOSPITAL ISSUES HOLIDAY APPEAL TO AREA RESIDENTS

 An increase in countywide COVID-19 positivity and dramatically increasing hospital admissions have prompted the ACMH COVID-19 team to issue an appeal to area residents to help prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

  The hospital is now seeing a majority of COVID-19 cases coming from the general population, and not just nursing home residents, as was previously the case. This concerning trend clarifies what local and regional officials are seeing elsewhere. On November 21st, Pennsylvania reported 6,279 cases – over a six-fold increase in just a two month span. Positive COVID-19 cases have been reported in every county of Pennsylvania. While the highest transmission rates initially occurred in the southeastern part of the state, the latest surge has included more central counties, including Armstrong. COVID-19 patients being admitted to ACMH now include all adult age groups.

 Overall, the rate of positive infections has increased. In the past several weeks, ACMH has experienced a census exceeding 18 admissions at a time. Likewise, the need for COVID-19 testing for inpatients, outpatients and the Emergency Department has exponentially increased from an average of 50 – 60 tests per day a few months ago, to 130 – 180 tests per day over the past two weeks.

 With the holiday season fast approaching, it is imperative to limit involvement in social gatherings, while being mindful of extended interactions with people. Many COVID-19 infections are the result of known friends and family. It is crucial that we not let our individual guards down during the holidays, else we risk increased exposure. Wearing a mask and limiting social interaction is paramount, as many positive cases are traced back to asymptomatic individuals who have unknowingly spread the virus to others.

 With several vaccines on the horizon and soon to be available, ACMH is hopeful that we will weather this pandemic together and eventually see light at the end of the tunnel. Together we can prevent the hospital, staff and the community from being overwhelmed. While ACMH is doing its part by continuing to implement strict safety protocols within its facilities, area residents are strongly encouraged to do all they can to help curb the spread of the virus.

 A sincere appeal from the ACMH COVID-19 response team:

The ACMH COVID-19 response team is comprised of ACMH officials representing a cross-section of administrative duties and specialties. Members include: John Lewis, ACMH Hospital President and CEO; Dr. James Backstrom, Chief Medical Officer; Nichole Geraci, Chief Operating Officer; Rachel Verdi, Director of Risk/Safety/Service Recovery; Kayla Lee, Director of Operational Excellence; Janis Reeves, Executive Director of Nursing; and Chris Och, Educator/Safety Coordinator.

Updated ACMH Hospital Visitation Policy in Response to COVID-19

ACMH Hospital is restricting general visitation in response to the dramatically increasing COVID-19 situation in Armstrong County. Armstrong County's percentage of positive tests is greater than 10% (not as a percentage of population, but of those tested) – putting our county at an increased transmission risk. The restriction went into effect on Monday, November 2nd, 2020.

 Current exceptions are as follows:

  • Maternity: one visitor/coach is permitted in the department
  • Surgery: one support visitor is permitted due to the need for a driver after the procedure
  • Hospice/Critical Patients: at the discretion of the ACMH staff, visitors may be permitted during critical and/or end of life situations
    •      Clergy visitation is permitted for end of life patients
  • Patients with Support Needs: one support person may be permitted to accompany the patient for outpatient testing or services

At this time, ACMH will continue both outpatient and inpatient services, with appropriate screening.  Masking will continue to be vigorously enforced for anyone permitted to enter the building.

ACMH leadership is dedicated to ensuring a successful, aligned medical response to COVID-19 and thanks the community for their continued understanding and cooperation as ACMH deals with this ongoing healthcare challenge.

“Our primary focus is the health and safety of our patients, our staff, and the community at large,” stated John Lewis, ACMH Hospital President and CEO. “Restricting visitation is unfortunately, once again, a necessary response to an increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in Armstrong County.” 

COVID-19 TESTING

The Swabbing Station at Entrance E will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
ACMH would like to remind individuals who may be sick themselves, including those experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, or sore throat, to not come directly to the hospital Emergency Department. Unless you are seeking emergency medical treatment, you are encouraged to call your primary care provider.

A provider order is required to get a Covid-19 test. If you do not have a primary care provider, you may contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

  • The E-Entrance Collection Station is open from 11:00am – 1:00pm Monday through Friday.
  • Asymptomatic surgical patients who are in need of pre-op COVID testing will be routed through the main lab at ACMH. The main lab pre-op Covid testing will take place from 10:00am to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday. Please enter through the main lobby.
 

REVISED SERVICE HOURS

MAIN LOBBY ACCESS HOURS:
Monday - Friday 5:30am - 5:00pm. Saturday 7:00am - 3:30pm. Sunday 7:00am - 12 noon.
NOTE: Only the person who is getting tested is allowed to enter the Hospital. If you need the assistance of another person, please talk with one of the screeners who will greet you at the entrance.

ACMH LABORATORY SERVICES HOURS:
Monday - Friday 6:30am - 4:00pm and Saturday 7:00am - 12 noon
Questions regarding ACMH laboratory service, please call (724) 543-8219

DRAW STATION HOURS:
Downtown Kittanning and Ford City Health Pavilion locations: Monday - Friday, from 7:00am to 12:00 noon
Cowansville location: Tuesday and Thursday, from 7:00am to 12 noon

ACMH IMAGING SERVICES HOURS:
Monday - Friday 7:00am - 4:00pm and Saturday 8:00am - 12 noon
Questions regarding ACMH imaging service, please call (724) 543-8787

E-ENTRANCE COLLECTION STATION:
Monday through Friday 11:00am – 1:00pm 

MEDICAL RECORDS OFFICE:
Arrangements can be made to obtain your records by contacting the Medical Records Department at 724-543-8554.  For physician office and clinic records please call 724-548-3804.  Requests can be received M-F from 7:00am - 4:00pm or by leaving a message after hours.

GIFT SHOP AND SNACK BAR:
The Gift Shop and Snack Bar will be closed November 25th - 30th
Monday - Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm. 
ACMH Snack Bar orders may be placed at 724-543-8454 for takeout and curbside pickup.

 

HAVE YOU RECOVERED FROM COVID-19 AND WANT TO HELP SAVE LIVES?

Vitalant is collecting plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19. Called “convalescent plasma,” it contains antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which can be given to patients currently fighting COVID-19. 

To be eligible, a potential donor must have:
  • A prior laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, either by a positive swab test OR a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies requested by your health care provider
  • Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days
  • All other donor eligibility for an automated plasma donation

Visit https://www.vitalant.org/covidFree for information on becoming a donor.

PREVENTION AND SAFETY

Prevention is the key to protecting yourself and others from this virus. Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  Alcohol based hand sanitizer is acceptable if soap and water are not available. Wear a mask or a cloth facial covering. Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Clean surfaces frequently, focusing on high touch items. To contain the virus, if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MASKING: CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Click HERE for more information.

A MESSAGE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MASKING TO HELP STOP COVID-19 SPREAD: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf reminds Pennsylvanians that mask-wearing is required when entering any business in all counties in the state in both yellow and green phases of reopening. Masks are considered critical in stopping the spread of COVID, now and in preparation for a possible resurgence of the virus in the fall.

The mask requirement is part of Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel’s Levine’s order, “Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations,” which pertains to all counties regardless of the phase of reopening. “In yellow and green counties, it is required that masks are worn when visiting businesses to protect employees, employees’ families, and communities as a whole,” Gov. Wolf said. “Mask-wearing has proven to be an important deterrent to the spread of the virus, and as more counties move to green and more things reopen, we need to be vigilant in our efforts to continue our mitigation efforts.”

A recent study from Cambridge and Greenwich universities in the United Kingdom found that cloth masks, “even homemade masks with limited effectiveness can dramatically reduce transmission rates if worn by enough people, regardless of whether they show symptoms.” Peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine corroborate the need for masks and the U.S. Surgeon General said that wearing a mask doesn’t impinge on our freedom – it gives us more freedom from unknowingly spreading COVID-19. The state’s business guidance outlines mask-wearing requirements and additional safety parameters for both employees and customers. Read more on Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen PA here.

USE OF CLOTH FACE COVERINGS TO HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19: COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. For information and instructions on making face coverings, click HERE

SOCIAL DISTANCING: Social distancing means staying away from close contact in public spaces. It includes actions like staying out of places where lots of people gather and maintaining distance — approximately 6 feet — from others. Social distancing also includes minimizing contact with people. All Pennsylvanians are being encouraged to practice social distancing — not just those who are seriously ill or at high risk. Social distancing is a proven way to slow the spread of pandemics.

PRACTICAL ADVICE TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY VIDEO: "Learn the Facts from a Lung Specialist Doctor: How to Avoid Coronavirus" - A Youtube video posted by a doctor who treats COVID-19 patients in a New York hospital. Click HERE

COMMUNITY STRESS AND ANXIETY: This is a time that all of us are feeling anxious about COVID-19 conditions and feeling stressed while being self-quarantined. This is both natural and expected. The medical community wants to reassure everyone that we will return to a normal state. However, for acute concerns of self and family, the following resources are available:
• Contact the PA Department of Health Crisis Text Line by texting 741-741
• Department of Health website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
• CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

ONLINE VIRTUAL VISITS

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACMH physician offices are now offering the convenience and safety advantages of online telehealth visits. Use your internet connected device (PC, Mac, Android or iOS/Apple) that is equipped with a camera and microphone to stay in touch with your primary care provider from the comfort and safety of your home. Call your ACMH physician office to request a telehealth visit.


COMMUNITY SUPPORT

The ACMH Board of Directors, Administration, medical staff, all hospital staff and local EMS providers sincerely express our thanks for the community's willingness to stay home, quarantine and help minimize the spread of the coronavirus.  We continue to ask everyone to stay the course and know that you are making a difference. To all of our community members and organizations that have surrounded us in prayer and support, we thank you as well.  Together we can get through this difficult time. 

Thank You to the following individuals and companies that have donated supplies:
• Snyder Group
• Image Works Painting
• Rosebud Mining
• SBS Contractors, Inc.
• Continental Clay
• Lisa Bartlett
• Liz White 
• Lenape Tech
• Sylvia Hooks
• Dr. William Oleksak
• Lowes
• Rural King
• Sylvan Bio Sciences
• Alterink Tattoo Removal
• Curly Tail Coffee
• Klingensmith Drug Store
• Bergad, Inc.
• Oliver Outdoor
• Harvest Community Church Congregation- Kittanning, PA 
• American Legion in Cowansville
• Lion Clubs of Ford City, Kittanning, and Worthington
• Law Offices of Gregory Swank
• ACMH Ladies Auxiliary
 

LINKS TO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
 

Social distancing means staying away from close contact in public spaces. It includes actions like staying out of places where lots of people gather and maintaining distance — approximately 6 feet — from others. Social distancing also includes minimizing contact with people. All Pennsylvanians are being encouraged to practice social distancing — not just those who are seriously ill or at high risk. Social distancing is a proven way to slow the spread of pandemics.

1) Wet your hands, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2) Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3) Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4) Rinse your hands with water
5) Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water