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PETERSON HEALTH CHANGES DUE TO SURGE IN COVID-19 CASES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             CONTACT: Lisa Winters

June 19, 2020                                                                          830-258-7628

PETERSON HEALTH CHANGES DUE TO SURGE IN COVID-19 CASES

Kerrville, TX – Due to the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases, Peterson Health has elevated protocols for hospital visitation, facemasks, and COVID-19 testing.

As of June 19, Peterson Health returned to a no visitation policy at the hospital and all Peterson Health medical facilities. Exceptions can be made by the nurse supervisor and include end-of-life patients, pediatric patients, laboring mothers, and patients in need of caregivers.  Shares Audrey Cortez, Director of Patient Experience, “We know this is difficult for both the patients and their family or friends and we apologize, but the restrictions are critical in order to protect the health of our patients and employees and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Peterson Health has also made it a requirement that all employees wear masks, including non-clinical staff. Clinical staff in direct patient care have been wearing masks from the very beginning, but now all employees, when moving throughout the hospital will be donning masks.

Due to the surge in cases and the rising number of people seeking testing, Peterson’s Outreach Clinic at Peterson Urgent Care will expand its testing to the weekends.  According to Tim Rye, Administrator for Peterson Medical Associates, all available appointments for testing were fully booked these past two days, usually by 10am.  In order to meet the need for more testing and serve the community, the Outreach Clinic will re-open for weekends.

People experiencing symptom may call (830)258-7814 between 8am and 4pm to make an appointment.  Symptoms now include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. This list does not include all possible symptoms and the CDC continues to update the list as they learn more about COVID-19.

Pam Burton, Infection Prevention RN reminds the community that we can reduce or slow the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to follow CDC and TDSHS recommendations as follows:

  • Practice social distancing.
  • Limit unnecessary travel and be prudent in your activities. (If at all possible, refrain from travel to known hot spots.)
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Don’t go to work if you are sick.
  • Wear a cloth face covering or mask in public settings, especially in areas where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies).  Assure your face covering provides coverage from the bridge of your nose to beneath your chin.  An uncovered nose still allows for spreading and acquiring of respiratory viruses.

Shares Burton, “Our number of positive cases doubled in just one week due to relaxed behavior and we don’t want this pattern to continue. With Father’s Day this Sunday and 4th of July next weekend, it is tempting to make plans to travel or participate in large gatherings or celebrations.  Peterson Health urges our community to be prudent in planning and respectful of others in order for all of us to protect other people in our homes and community.”

Peterson Health remains fluid and nimble as the pandemic requires changes each day.  We will continue to follow the guidelines and restrictions set by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission.

Peterson Health is grateful for the understanding and cooperation of the community during this difficult time.

For more information on visitation restrictions, contact Audrey Cortez, Director of Patient Experience for Peterson Health at (830)285-7841. For questions regarding COVID-19, call the hotline at (830)896-4200, select Option 1 or visit our website at www.petersonhealth.com Covid-19 Information Center.

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