Memorial Hospital of Converse County will reserve rapid COVID-19 antigen testing for symptomatic and pre-operative patients.

"Due to a nationwide shortage of test kits from our current supplier, we must prioritize the use of our rapid test supplies for members of our community exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or those who are presenting for a surgical procedure in our facility," MHCC Chief Operations Officer Karl Hertz said.

Rapid antigen testing is beneficial for patients to have a result within a smaller time frame. Asymptomatic testing is often used to control the transmission of the virus. Patients who are asymptomatic may have been exposed to a known positive case or considered high risk, but are not currently showing symptoms. Those who are asymptomatic can pass COVID-19 to others, MCHH officials said.

"Most suppliers of rapid testing kits are backordered, but our laboratory is working diligently to find a solution. In the interim, we will administer standard nasal or nasopharyngeal swab tests. We will send these tests to the state or other lab for processing, which can take longer. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding," Hertz said.

Further Updates To Changes In Operations:

COVID-19 spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. In order to keep our patients and staff safe, MHCC has enacted the following measures.

• Rapid antigen testing is reserved for symptomatic and pre-operative patients at the present time.

• The Respiratory Illness Clinic is idle and testing for patients supported by Medical Office Building and Emergency Department staff.

• All MHCC Clinics are open and resuming in-person appointments. Every patient will be asked the screening questions prior to entry into any building.

• Telehealth visits are now offered for patients.

• Non-emergent surgeries have resumed as determined by presiding medical staff.

• Visitors and family are not currently permitted to accompany adult patients into the Emergency Department - updates will be provided to family in a timely manner. Minor or pediatric patients are permitted one parent or guardian to remain with them in the Emergency Department, when appropriate.

• One support person is permitted - where applicable - to accompany patients to hospital based appointments such as Lab or Imaging.

• For ultrasound patients, expectant mothers are not permitted any additional guests at this time.

• Third Floor Med-Surg Unit is restricting all visitors, routine updates are provided to a designated family member by phone.

• For Labor and Delivery, mothers in active labor will be permitted one guest with them throughout labor and delivery. This guest may not leave - once they are in the hospital they must remain and cannot go back and forth.

• The hospital's main entrance will be open and monitored Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• All hospital exterior doors will remain locked after hours.

• The emergency department entrance will remain open 24 hours.

COVID-19 Hotline:

MHCC has established a COVID-19 Hotline for patients with questions or concerns about their symptoms. The Hotline is managed by the Emergency Department at MHCC. Patients who call the Hotline with symptoms will be asked a series of questions. Treatment advice will be given based on the patient’s answers.

The Hotline Number is (307) 358-7399.

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