Lake Regional Health System has announced additional screening protocols and new visitor guidelines in an effort to protect its patients and employees from the growing number of COVID-19 cases in our community.
“These changes are part of our ongoing effort to ensure the safety of our patients and employees,” said Dane W. Henry, FACHE, chief executive officer of Lake Regional Health System. “It’s imperative that we protect the vulnerable population of patients within our hospital while also ensuring that our employees remain healthy to care for this community.”
Beginning Friday, July 9, hospital visitors will be asked a series of screening questions before entering the facility and be required to wear a visitor badge. Lake Regional clinic customers will be screened and given badges at reception.
Lake Regional Pharmacy customers also will be screened. Individuals who have signs of illness are encouraged to use safe, convenient drive-thru service, curbside delivery or free home delivery service. Customers who visit the pharmacy without a visitor badge will be screened by pharmacy staff.
Also, because an increasing numbers of patients are seeking care in the hospital’s Emergency Department, only one support person will be allowed per ED patient. This change helps limit the exposure risk for caregivers, patients and their visitors, and allows for social distancing in waiting areas. Two parents are allowed for pediatric patients.
Masks still are required to be worn in all Lake Regional facilities, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.
Complete visitor guidelines, including guidance for Skilled Nursing patients, are available online at lakeregional.com/visitors.
Henry said he hopes the community will take seriously the threat of COVID-19 and will cooperate with these changes.
“Please understand that these rules provide protection — for you and us,” Henry said. “Unfortunately, our employees increasingly encounter individuals who do not understand the threat we are facing. We are communicating these changes now so that patients’ families will understand how important these restrictions are for keeping their loved ones safe.”
Camden, Miller and Morgan counties are now considered COVID-19 hotspots by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. In an advisory issued July 7, the DHSS warns area health care providers to expect a spike in COVID cases on the heels of a surge in Southwest Missouri.
Health experts expect COVID-19 case rates to increase locally by three times or more in coming weeks, due to low vaccination rates in the three counties.
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases locally has increased the demand for testing. COVID-19 testing is available at Lake Regional Express Care locations, open daily in Camdenton, Eldon, Lebanon and Osage Beach. Learn more at lakeregional.com/COVID19.
COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe and readily available. Most importantly, they are the best protection against hospitalization and death.
Lake Regional Health System offers weekday vaccination appointments at its seven primary care locations. You do not have to be an established patient to schedule a free vaccination. County health departments, Central Ozarks Medical Center and the area’s retail pharmacies also offer COVID-19 vaccinations.
To learn more about the vaccine’s efficacy or safety, please visit lakeregional.com/vaccine.