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Hospital to restart elective, non-emergency surgeries Friday

Patients who have delayed surgery or other non-emergency procedures can now work with their physician to secure care as East Georgia Regional Medical Center announced it will resume elective services starting Friday. 

Erin Spillman, director of Marketing at East Georgia, said the numerous precautions already in place for infection prevention, access control, social distancing and patient flow will be strictly followed to maintain a safe environment of care.

“Everyone who enters the building, including staff, is screened, and all employees, physicians and patients are expected to wear masks,” Spillman said.

She said furniture in waiting areas is spaced to maintain appropriate social distancing. Cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and caregiving spaces is “intensified.”

Visitor restrictions for inpatients remain in effect, with exceptions for laboring mothers, pediatric patients, individuals with a significant disability and end-of-life situations.

“As we reopen elective procedures, our physicians and caregivers are working diligently to keep every patient safe,” said C. Alan Scott, MD, the Medical Center’s chief of staff.  “It is important to reschedule health care procedures that have been delayed so health conditions do not deteriorate. We also want to remind everyone that it is safe – and necessary – to seek immediate help in an emergency department for serious health emergencies like chest pain, heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening conditions.”

Spillman said non-COVID-19-care zones are have been defined in the hospital, where patients who are screened as negative for COVID-19 will receive care from dedicated staff. 

“If, at any time, we are caring for COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital, those patients are grouped together in the same unit away from all other patients,” she said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our patients’ and caregivers’ health and safety have been our primary concern,” said Stephen Pennington, CEO of East Georgia Regional. “We are ramping up slowly to ensure safety for everyone.  Patients can be assured that we are taking every precaution to protect them.”

All patients scheduling surgery or other invasive procedures will be tested for COVID-19 in advance of the procedure, Spillman said.

“The hospital is closely monitoring its inventory of test kits, personal protective equipment, medications and other needed supplies to ensure sufficient resources to support the number of patients in care,” she said.

Spillman said the hospital’s plan to restart elective procedures at this time was made in consultation with the board of trustees, medical executive committee and surgical leadership and follows all local, state and federal guidelines.

Hours for surgery and outpatient diagnostic and imaging procedures will be extended to help patients that have had care postponed. 

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