To address asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Joint Commission, the accrediting body for over 22,000 health care organizations and programs nationwide, including Mercer Health’s Mercer County Joint Township District Community Hospital, recommends that healthcare facilities “…implement source control for everyone entering a healthcare facility (e.g., healthcare personnel, patients, visitors), regardless of symptoms…” Source control involves having people wear a cloth face covering or facemask over their mouth and nose to contain their respiratory secretions and thus reduce the dispersion of droplets from an infected individual. This will decrease the possibility that anyone with unrecognized COVID-19 infection will expose others and will allow organizations to forgo contact tracing if a case is identified. For source control to be effective, it requires that everyone wear a mask within healthcare buildings to prevent droplet and (to a lesser degree) aerosol spread of respiratory viruses such as COVID-19.
These recommendations from the CDC and The Joint Commission are being implemented and will be required at all Mercer Health locations. Therefore, beginning on Monday, April 27th, all patients and visitors will need to wear a mask. If patients or visitors arrive without a mask, one will be provided. Patients may remove their mask when in their rooms but should put them back on when leaving their room. Hand hygiene requirements for visitors and patients, when entering and leaving the facility and patient’s rooms, continue.
Mercer Health guidelines, requirements and information is up-to-date and available at www.mercer-health.com. Up-to-date statewide information for the State of Ohio is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the most timely and accurate information for the entire nation, including travel information, prevention and treatment tips, and other resources, and is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.