BISBEE — Copper Queen Community Hospital (CQCH) has new restrictions in place concerning access to the hospital and the screening of all patients and staff entering the facility.

According to Jessica Ogiba, chief public relations officer, “CQCH will continue monitoring the situation on a continual basis.

Out of an abundance of caution, CQCH is making several short-term operational changes, effective immediately.”

She noted anyone who needs to enter the hospital should do so through the main entrance or the emergency room.

All other doors will be locked until further notice to control access and make sure everyone is screened.

The screening will include general health and travel questions along with verification that no fever exists in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

On March 26 Ogiba reported, “CQCH is actively testing throughout all CQCH facilities. Staff have tested 12 people total. Nine were negative for COVID-19. Three remaining tests are pending.

“As of this post, all tests conducted at CQCH facilities have returned negative. There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cochise County and no deaths.”

CQCH does offer testing to those who meet CDC guidelines. CQCH has enough tests for patients who meet that criteria. Unfortunately, CQCH does not have testing capabilities for the entire community, nor does the country, reported Ogiba.

Hospital visitation is not allowed and anyone under 18 years of age not being seen as a patient is restricted from visiting any area.

The CQCH cafeteria, a community favorite, is also temporarily closed to all but hospital staff.

Exceptions to the guidelines for visitations may be considered on a case-by-case basis for patients who are at the end of life, have dementia or if it involves pediatrics.

All Weight Watchers in-person meetings have been suspended.

CQCH facilities in Bisbee, Douglas and Palominas will remain open. Any patient checking in at one of the clinics must ask for a mask if they have a fever, cold symptoms, chills, body aches and trouble breathing or think exposure to the virus has occurred.

“Normally, CQCH takes Easter Monday, April 13, as a holiday, but this year we will have all rural health clinics,“ Ogiba added.

Chief Medical Officer Edward Miller stated, “As of today, only 12 percent of people statewide who met CDC testing criteria were positive. In other words, 88 percent of people who met criteria for COVID-19 testing don’t have it. Rest assured that Copper Queen Community Hospital will stay up-to-the-minute on guidelines and disease progress. We appreciate your trust and confidence.”

Necessary protocols

Ogiba noted, “Our staff is following all necessary protocols for personal safety. Currently, we are providing refresher training to all of our staff on proper PPE techniques.”

To further prepare for the possibility of people testing positive for COVID-19, CQCH is already looking for possible help from current and former medical professionals, added Ogiba. “We are calling on future, current and previous health care professionals and personal protective equipment (PPE) products providers and manufacturers to come forward to support our response.”

The CQCH system is also accepting donations of PPE as long as they are left unopened in their original packaging.

Supplies needed include: disposable head covers, disposable gowns, disposable gloves, N95 respirator masks, disposable face masks, face shields or goggles, shoe covers, disinfecting wipes and liquids and general-purpose hand cleaners.

Ogiba said, “Please keep in mind that CQCH is fully prepared for the normal flow of patients, but if we have a major influx of patients, we will need additional PPE.”

For more information as a healthcare professional, or to donate PPE supplies, contact Angel Garcia via email at: Angarcia@cqch.org or call (520) 432-6466.

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