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Fitzgibbon to establish exterior triage tents for patient and visitor safety

March 17, 2020

        Several tents will be going up near the exterior entrances to Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall to help facilitate screening of patients and visitors prior to entering the facility and to serve as temporary triage areas to evaluate patients who are referred for further testing including COVID-19 testing. These tents are NOT for on-demand testing but instead are being used to keep potential exposure of patients and healthcare staff to a minimum. Many hospitals across the country are implementing these temporary tents as they work to minimize risks for patients and employees alike.

As part of its efforts to stop the spread of the virus, Fitzgibbon Hospital also will be revising its visitor policy, performing basic temperature screenings and asking visitors a list of screening questions prior to entering the main lobby. If visitors show any illness-like symptoms, they will not be allowed to visit. The hospital is strongly discouraging visitors at this time, including those under the age of 18.

        “I think it’s important for members of our community to be aware that we are taking every step to safeguard our patients and staff and to lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Temporary triage tents are one way we can do that,” said Angy Littrell, President and CEO of Fitzgibbon Hospital. “We have given very thoughtful consideration to how we implement this extension of our bricks and mortar hospital.”

        Littrell noted that the current COVID-19 testing protocols follow CDC guidelines, which require certain medical criteria to be met. They include the need for a physician order as well a separate test to rule out influenza.

        “Individuals should be referred for services from their primary care provider,” said Littrell. “We really don’t have the capacity to serve people showing up unannounced and asking to be tested without showing any symptoms or being referred for the service. Having a doctor’s order and meeting CDC guidelines are among the requirements for COVID-19 testing.”

        Preferably, those with respiratory symptoms will contact their health care provider, share their symptoms, and if they meet the CDC guidelines they will then be referred by their provider for further testing and evaluation. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Individuals who have travelled outside the state to an area of high COVID-19 positive populations or those who been exposed to someone positive for COVID-19 are also considered at greater risk for contracting the virus.

        Individuals are encouraged to establish a relationship with a primary care provider. Those who do not have a primary care provider may contact the Saline County Public Health Department or Marshall Family Practice at 660-886-7800.  Please refer to www.fitzgibbon.org/covid19 for the latest updates.