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Home / Patients & Visitors / COVID-19 Information Update

COVID-19 Information Update

Request for Donations

Simon Ahtaridis, MD MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Valley Health Systems / Holyoke Medical Center

Holyoke Medical Center would like to take this opportunity to thank our community for the outpouring of offers for help during this very challenging time amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Any donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly non-disposable respirators that can be reused, are greatly appreciated.

We appreciate offers to sew handmade masks, and while we thank you for your generosity, we have not reached that point. We will certainly reach out again if this does become a needed item.

Donations can be delivered to the main entrance of Holyoke Medical Center, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. If you call 413.534.2500 when you arrive, a team member will go out to your car to collect the donation from you.

Thank you again.

Patient & Visitor Notice March 10, 2020

Holyoke Medical Center staff are working hard to ensure the highest degree of patient and employee safety.  We are taking measures to promptly identify and isolate any potential exposure.

Effective immediately, the following measures are in place: 

Entrance Control 

  • entrance to the hospital is restricted to the Main Entrance and Emergency Department 

Visitation Restrictions 

  • no visitors are allowed into any inpatient or outpatient unit at Holyoke Medical Center
  • our Emergency Department will allow for minors to be accompanied by one parent
  • one adult visitor will be allowed into the waiting room for adult Emergency Department patients
  • no visitors, other than an adult accompanying a minor, will be allowed into the treatment areas of the Emergency Department
  • the Maternity Unit will allow for one birthing partner only
  • in specific circumstances, exceptions will be made on a one-to-one basis such as end-of-life care or a patient in need of a medical guardian/decision-maker

Community Education Programs

  • please check our calendar for updates on programs

Vendor Restrictions

  • all vendors are restricted. Alternate arrangements have been made based on necessity 

Thank you for your cooperation, as we work together to keep our community healthy.


COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) Information Update: March 12, 2020

Holyoke Medical Center is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) and is coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health officials to take every precaution to prepare us to provide safe care to all of our patients, including those who may present with COVID-19 symptoms.  

How is Holyoke Medical Center preparing and responding to COVID-19?

Holyoke Medical Center has established a multidisciplinary task force to ensure the highest degree of public and patient safety. Efforts underway include:

  • Updating ED and ambulatory screening protocols to identify patients who may have a higher risk of rapidly detect patients with possible COVID-19
  • Updating the screening tools in our electronic health record to flag patients with possible COVID-19
  • Physician, provider and employee education – Meetings were hosted to update providers and employees on the COVID-19 disease and to ensure collective understanding and action to prevent disease transmission and to support symptomatic patients
  • Resource planning and allocation

Patients are considered at risk if they have a cough, fever/chills, and/or shortness of breath AND one of the following: 

  • Traveled to a high-risk country as defined by the CDC in the last 21 days
    – OR – 
  • Been in contact with someone who has traveled to a high-risk country and/or may be under suspicion for COVID-19.

What should I do if I am a patient at Holyoke Medical Center?

All outpatient testing and scheduled procedures are continuing without interruption both at the main campus and at all satellite locations. However, some changes in flow through the facility such as entry and exit points, waiting areas, etc. are necessary.

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19:

Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency department, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms, travel history, or potential COVID-19 exposure. 

What are Coronaviruses? 

The cause of this outbreak has been identified as a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory illness.

Other coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Holyoke Medical Center has substantial experience evaluating and caring for patients with possible coronaviruses infections. 

How does COVID-19 spread?

Coronaviruses are typically spread from person-to-person when in close contact. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

What are the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection?

For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms or mild cold symptoms to people being severely sick. Most people who become sick from COVID-19 — approximately 80 percent — do not require hospitalization.  

Common symptoms of a COVID-19 infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath

Persons who are elderly, unable to develop a normal immune response, or have other comorbidities, such as heart disease or liver disease, are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia and dying from the disease. Symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

 How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The CDC recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough, or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses is to:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Stay home and do not travel when you are sick

Should I wear a face mask?

The CDC is not recommending that people wear masks. Most often respiratory viruses are spread from person-to-person in close contact or within six feet of each other.

To preserve the limited supply of masks, the only Holyoke Medical Center staff using masks are those who provide direct care to patients with communicable illnesses or patients with a fever or cough. For more information about masks and other Personal Protective Equipment, see the CDC’s webpage on Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Protective Equipment.

Where can I go for up-to-date information?

Facts about COVID-19, situation updates and travel guidance can be found at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus website.

You can find more information about the virus on the following websites:

Contact

If you are a patient and have additional questions, please contact your healthcare provider.

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