Methodist, Baptist hospitals to screen visitors, restrict number of entrances due to coronavirus

Visitors may be asked to wear a mask if they have cough, fever, travel history to high-risk countries

SAN ANTONIO – Effective immediately, visitors to Methodist Healthcare System and Baptist Health System hospitals will be screened at hospital entrances due to the coronavirus, officials said. In addition, the hospitals will be limiting the number of entrances visitors can access.

Prior to entering a hospital, a hospital employee will ask the visitor if they have a cough, fever or if they traveled to countries that are at high risk for the virus.

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If the visitor to a Methodist hospital answer yes to any of the questions, they will be asked to wear a mask if they want to enter the hospital, MHS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Paul Hancock said Thursday at a news conference.

The same procedures will be conducted at the emergency room entrance.

Hancock said there are currently no coronavirus cases at any of the Methodist Healthcare System hospitals.

“(We’re) preparing for what could happen,” Hancock said. “Being prepared is how we minimize risk.”

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He also urged people who might display any symptoms to “ride it out at home” if the symptoms are mild to moderate.

“(We want to) keep the virus out of the hospital as much as we can,” Hancock said.

Hancock said the only reason to go to the emergency room is if someone becomes seriously ill and has shortness of breath.

Methodist Healthcare will post this flyer at the entrances to hospitals. (KSAT)

Baptist Health System released the following statement regarding its procedures:

"Baptist Health System hospitals are monitoring information from federal, state and local public health agencies for current information on the coronavirus. Our hospitals have taken the appropriate steps as we have trained professionals and the necessary equipment to react accordingly. As with any communicable disease, as our patients enter the hospital in areas such as emergency department or registration, hospital staff are questioning all of their recent travel and detailing symptoms. We evaluate relevant symptom criteria and implement contact airborne isolation, if required, without delay. Our clinical teams are in constant review of infection prevention processes and update patient screenings as recommended by the CDC.

“We are changing the way our hospitals are accessed to further increase our efforts to protect patients, visitors and employees. We are creating hand sanitization stations and limiting access points to our hospitals to fewer entrances and exits for closer monitoring and evaluation.”

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