Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

North Alabama Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

Visitor Guidance

We continue to closely monitor the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and follow state and federal guidance as we adapt our operations to safely care for our patients. Effective Thursday, June 4, 2020, we are easing our support person policy as follows:

  • Inpatients will be limited to one well support person per day, during specific hours.
  • All visitors must be 16 years of age or older, will be screened upon entry and will be required to wear a mask at all times while in the facility. The support person must provide their own mask.
  • Visitors who do not pass the screening at entry will be asked to reschedule their visit until they are symptom-free.
  • Visitors are NOT allowed for high-risk, isolation, immunocompromised or respiratory patients who are under observation or test positive for COVID-19.
  • We continue to screen everyone who enters our facilities for symptoms consistent with COVID-19, per CDC guidelines.
  • Emergency Room patients will be permitted one support person. The support person must remain with the patient while at the hospital.
  • Outpatient surgery and cath lab patients will be permitted one support person.  The support person must remain in the patient’s room while at the hospital.
  • Pre-Admission testing patients and outpatient procedure patients will be permitted one support person.  The support person must remain in the lobby during the testing/procedure.

 

Support Hours

Adult Patients
10:00 AM-7:30 PM

Critical Care Patients
10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Obstetric Patients
Support person will join the patient when admitted to the hospital and be allowed to stay overnight with the patient.

Pediatric Patients
Support person(s) will join the patient when admitted to the hospital and be allowed to stay overnight with the patient. (Pediatric patients age 10 and under are permitted two support persons.)

 

Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation as we work to maintain a safe environment for our patients and team.

 

COVID-19 Online Risk Assessment

To help support the health of our community, we are providing access to an online COVID-19 risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This tool does NOT provide a diagnosis, and it should NOT be used as a substitute for an assessment made by a healthcare provider.

 

Quick Links:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Alabama Department of Public Health
Alabama Hospital Association State

The ADPH Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks Division can be reached at (334) 206-5347 to answer general questions. In addition, citizens can call 211 for answers to common questions regarding coronavirus.

A complete list of frequently asked questions and answers about COVID-19 is available on the CDC website, by clicking here.

Testing Locations

Thrive Urgent Care
3500 Cloverdale Rd, Florence, AL 35633
256-284-7706

Med Plus Florence
2908 Mall Drive, Florence, AL 35630
256-767-2702

Express Med
970 Cox Creek Parkway, Florence, AL 35633
256-760-1655

Wellness Walk-In Clinic
2612 Hough Road, Florence, AL 35630
256-275-3724

Hand Washing Guidance from the CDC

Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Beforeduring, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. Learn more here.

How to use hand sanitizer

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

For more information, visit the CDC website.

Who is at risk?The risk to the general public remains low at this time. Right now, influenza is a much more significant threat to Americans. Protect yourself from the flu – it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

Evidence to date indicates those most at risk for becoming ill with COVID-19 are:

  • Those in close contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, including healthcare workers and
  • Those who have traveled in the past 14 days in countries or cities with ongoing community spread of the virus.

The CDC Travel Health Notices website provides a list of countries with sustained COVID-19 transmission.

Travelers returning from one of the countries with community spread of COVID-19 should monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough and shortness of breath, for 14 days after they return from one of those countries.

What are the symptoms?Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
Are there different strains of coronavirus? Yes, there are seven different coronaviruses known to infect humans.

  • Four of the seven coronaviruses are very common, more mild (similar to the common cold), and most people will be infected with at least one of them in their lifetime. Healthcare providers test for these common coronaviruses routinely, and no public health measures are needed to address these common coronaviruses. People infected with the common coronaviruses can avoid passing them to others by covering their coughs and sneezes, cleaning their hands frequently and containing germs by staying home when ill.
  • Three of the seven coronaviruses are rare and can cause more severe illness; this includes COVID-19. Testing for this virus can only be done at CDC; healthcare providers are not able to test for this virus independent of the public health department.
I have respiratory illness symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. What should I do?If your symptoms are mild: 

  • Stay home except to get medical care

If you are experiencing mild respiratory illness symptoms, you care and should isolate at home during illness. Restrict outside activities, avoid public areas (work, school, etc.) and refrain from using public transportation.

  • Treat symptoms as appropriate

Treat symptoms with rest, plenty of fluids and over-the-counter medications, as appropriate.

  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

​Separate yourself as much as possible, staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom, if available. Restrict your contact with pets and other animals.

  • Monitor your symptoms

​Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse (e.g. difficulty breathing)

  • Call ahead before visiting a healthcare provider

Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

If your symptoms are getting worse: 

  • Seek prompt medical attention

Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19-related symptoms. 

What should I do if I have traveled to an area with the infection and feel sick? If you have had exposure to a known case or traveled to a country with community spread and developed a fever or respiratory symptoms, please isolate yourself at home from others and contact ADPH before seeking medical care. If you need immediate medical care, contact your healthcare provider to describe your symptoms and any recent travels before you go to the healthcare facility.
How can I protect myself? While there is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus and those with the virus can seek medical care to relieve symptoms. There are simple, everyday actions you can take to help prevent spreading germs that cause respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet, or within the room or care area, of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). Close contact can also include caring for, living with, visiting or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (such as being coughed on) while not wearing recommended PPE.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.