Categorized | H1N1 Flu (swine flu), Health

North Hawaii Community Hospital preparing for H1N1 possibility

MEDIA RELEASE

In response to the World Health Organization’s recent decision to increase the global pandemic alert level to Phase 5, North Hawaii Community Hospital has instituted hospital-wide precautionary measures aimed at keeping the community and its hospital workers healthy.nhchbug1

John R. White, CEO of NHCH, said the measures are proactive and preventative, aimed at caring for people with flu-like symptoms in hospital areas separate from other patients to minimize the spread of infection.

“North Hawaii Community Hospital has raised its level of preparation to one step below activation of its Emergency Response Plan. We have regularly drilled. We are in communication with the state Department of Health on a regular basis,” White said. “These measures are normal procedures being followed by many hospitals in Hawaii and elsewhere. We apologize for any inconvenience they may cause and we are very grateful for your cooperation.”

Precautionary measures include:

* Increased access control into the hospital. Some entrances are closed and main entrances are staffed in order to properly restrict and log foot traffic

* Limiting visitors. Temporarily, only one adult visitor or family member will be allowed to accompany patients into the hospital, except in certain circumstances. Others may wait in the parking area or return home.

* Active surveillance. Staff are observing patients in the hospital – and each other – to spot flu-like symptoms. Anyone with flu-like symptoms can be quickly and painlessly tested with a nasal swab.

* Social distancing. This means separating people with flu-like symptom. That is the purpose of the large yellow tent set up outside the Emergency Room. 

* Non-critical activities. NHCH will reschedule activities such as the celebrations for Nursing Week and Hospital Week for a more appropriate time.

* New patients, visitors, and hospital staff are being screened for influenza symptoms.

“We understand the news of the flu outbreak is unsettling at best and that the measures now in place have made it less convenient to access the hospital,” White said. “Our current level of preparedness will help us identify the first case of swine flu in Hawaii should it present itself to our hospital, and we now have the capacity to respond to a surge in patient arrivals to the Emergency Department.”

If you have specific, urgent questions for North Hawaii Community Hospital, call 885-4444.

— Find out more: 

Centers for Disease Control:  www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/swineflu_y…

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