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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

FOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, CLICK HERE


MOST RECENT UPDATES:


LETTER TO STAFF FROM WASHINGTON REGIONAL PRESIDENT AND CEO LARRY SHACKELFORD AS FEATURED ON THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW

WASHINGTON REGIONAL RE-OPENS CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC AT 3318 N. NORTH HILLS BLVD. (June 11, 2020)

June 11, 2020- Due to a significant increase in individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19, Washington Regional has re-opened its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Clinic located at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard in Fayetteville. This clinic is now dedicated specifically to testing individuals who are asymptomatic, or without symptoms, but who have had a direct exposure to someone with Coronavirus (COVID-19). Hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Community members who have active symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory illness can continue to be evaluated, treated, and tested (if necessary) at the Washington Regional Urgent Care in Fayetteville, located at 3 East Appleby Road, Suite 101, inside William L. Bradley Medical Plaza. This Urgent Care location has expanded its hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Individuals are encouraged to call the Washington Regional Coronavirus Hotline at 479.463.2055 and a health care professional can direct you to the appropriate clinic.

STATEMENT FROM WASHINGTON REGIONAL COO REGARDING INCREASE OF CORONAVIRUS CASES IN NWA (June 10, 2020)

June 10, 2020- While most regions in Arkansas have seen a decline in COVID-19 cases, Northwest Arkansas is experiencing a surge in community spread of the virus and is now leading the state in confirmed total cases of the virus, with Washington County at 1,185 cases and Benton County at 1,090 cases as of this morning. Washington Regional views this as a serious public health emergency.

Over the past month, Northwest Arkansas has witnessed a significant increase in the number of hospitalized individuals with COVID-19. On May 12, there were four COVID-19 positive patients in Northwest Arkansas hospitals. Since then, we’ve seen the number of hospitalizations double every week, and we now have more than 70 COVID-19 positive patients in area hospitals. Washington Regional is also seeing more critically ill COVID-19 patients, with over 30% of those hospitalized requiring ventilator support. As cases increase, Washington Regional has accepted transfers of positive COVID-19 patients from other hospitals in Northwest Arkansas, North Arkansas and Western Oklahoma.

It is important for our community to understand that we are not seeing more hospitalizations simply because more testing is being done. We are seeing more hospitalizations because more people in our area are being infected with the virus.

Over the past week, Washington Regional has seen a 170% increase in the number of COVID-19 tests performed at its screening clinics, a 156% increase in calls to the Washington Regional COVID-19 Hotline and a 350% increase in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

To address the rapid spread of COVID-19 in our community, Washington Regional has made two significant operational changes this week. First, on Tuesday, June 9, we opened a second inpatient unit to care for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients, which means we can now provide treatment for 38 COVID-19 inpatients with the ability to expand capacity as necessary. Care in these units is overseen by a dedicated team of intensivists, hospitalists and infectious disease physicians.

Second, beginning today, June 10, we have re-opened the Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Clinic at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard in Fayetteville to address the increased demand for screening and testing. This clinic is dedicated to COVID-19 screening and testing of individuals who do not have any symptoms but who may have had a direct exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive. We will continue to evaluate, treat and test patients with active respiratory illness or other COVID-19 symptoms at the Washington Regional Urgent Care location in Fayetteville, located in the William L. Bradley Medical Plaza at 3 East Appleby Road.

Washington Regional wants the community to be assured that Washington Regional is prepared for this surge. Over the past several months, our team has planned and prepared for this pandemic and we have the staff, supplies and resources to effectively respond while continuing our customary health care operations. We have the capacity to safely provide care for all in our community - not just those who require hospitalization due to COVID-19.

We believe it is of great importance that every member of our community hear the message that it is critically important to take the recent surge in COVID-19 cases seriously. In the early days of the pandemic we saw a tremendous outpouring of support for health care workers. Here is what the community can do to help us now – wear a mask when out in public, practice social distancing, regularly wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, and stay home when you are sick.

Washington Regional remains here for you. Please, do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community.

REVISED HOURS FOR WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS SCREENING CLINIC IN EUREKA SPRINGS (June 1, 2020)

June 1, 2020- Effective Tuesday, June 2, hours of operation for the drive-thru screening clinic at the Washington Regional Eureka Springs Family Clinic will be 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The clinic is located at 146 Passion Play Road, Suite A in Eureka Springs.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TO REOPEN MAIN ENTRANCE AT WOMEN AND INFANTS TOWER (May 8, 2020)

May 8, 2020- Washington Regional will reopen the main entrance (north entrance) of the Women and Infants Center on Monday, May 11, at 7 a.m. Prior to entering the building, patients and visitors will be screened. The entrance will be open seven days a week, 24 hours per day.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TO RESUME ELECTIVE PROCEDURES (May 1, 2020)

May 1, 2020- On Monday, May 4, Washington Regional Medical Center will resume elective procedures, following all guidelines found in the Directive on Resuming Elective Procedures provided by the Arkansas Department of Health. These guidelines include limiting services to only outpatient procedures that do not require an overnight stay and ensuring that patients do not have symptoms of or a recent exposure to COVID-19. Patients must also test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of surgery. Scheduling and patient instructions for pre-surgery COVID-19 testing will be provided by physician offices. Patients who have questions should call their physician’s office for assistance.

REVISED HOURS FOR WASHINGTON REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS SCREENING HOTLINE (April 13, 2020)

April 13, 2020 - Effective today, hours of operation for the Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Hotline will be 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

KNWA: FULL INTERVIEW WITH WASHINGTON REGIONAL CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER (March 19, 2020)

March 19, 2020 - Washington Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Ratcliff responds to the first Coronavirus case in Northwest Arkansas in this interview with KNWA. To view the video go to https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/knwa/full-interview-with-washington-regional-chief-medical-officer/.

5NEWS: FACTS NOT FEAR: YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ANSWERED (March 19, 2020)

March 19, 2020 - Dr. Mark Thomas from Washington Regional answers questions from the community. To view the video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhRhQkW5LUQ.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL PREPAREDNESS FOR CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 (March 18, 2020)

March 18, 2020 - Washington Regional is committed to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff members. In our numerous preparations to care for patients with Coronavirus infections, we have equipped designated care locations, staffed by trained healthcare professionals. In the event we have a significant number of patients with Coronavirus who need care, we have a plan in place and will continue to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health as appropriate.

If an individual has symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Washington Regional is equipped to provide screenings at two locations:
  • Washington Regional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening Clinic for patients who have symptoms of the virus, but do not require emergent care. This screening facility is located at 3318 N. North Hills Blvd. and is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekends.

    Upon arrival to the clinic, individuals will be evaluated to identify their risk factors for the virus. The screening clinic will follow guidelines as established by the Arkansas Department of Health for testing. Only individuals who have current symptoms of a respiratory infection, including high fever, cough and shortness of breath and who also meet the following criteria will be tested:
    • Over the age of 65 OR
    • Have a chronic illness that places them at risk for serious infection. This includes chronic heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes or conditions, including medications, which affect the immune system OR
    • Have had close contact (within 6 feet) in last 14 days with an individual who is confirmed to have or is suspected of having COVID-19 OR
    • Are a healthcare worker
  • If patients do not meet these criteria, they will be asked to return home and follow up with their primary care provider. If a patient does meet these criteria, specimens will be obtained for testing. After specimens are collected, patients will then be asked to return home for self-quarantine until test results become available, or as instructed by the Arkansas Department of Health.

  • Washington Regional Emergency Department for patients with symptoms requiring emergent care. The Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is equipped with locations for both potential and confirmed Coronavirus patients. In the event a room is not immediately available, our waiting room is separated to isolate those with symptoms from those without symptoms. If possible, individuals with symptoms should call to notify the Emergency Department prior to arrival so the care team can instruct them on how and where to present.
For those patients who require hospitalization, Washington Regional Medical Center is equipped to provide necessary care to Coronavirus patients within:
  • Specialized rooms in our Emergency Department, including locations for both potential and confirmed Coronavirus patients
  • A dedicated critical care unit for patients with suspected and confirmed Coronavirus infections where care is overseen by intensivists and an infectious disease physician
  • Personnel who are closely monitoring patients and working in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health and Center for Disease Control as appropriate
If additional specialized isolation units are needed, we have a plan in place to determine which patients can safely receive care in other areas of our hospital. We are also prepared to open additional isolation units as necessary.

SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD: THE STATE IS WORKING TO INCREASE COVID-19 TESTING CAPACITY WHILE WASHINGTON REGIONAL AND OTHER HEALTH SYSTEMS PREPARE FOR PATIENTS (March 14, 2020)

WASHINGTON REGIONAL TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS VOLUNTEER SERVICES PROGRAM (March 14, 2020)

March 14, 2020 - Effective March 14: Washington Regional’s Volunteer Services Program has been temporarily suspended until further notice. This measure is being implemented to prevent spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and specifically to protect the health of our valued team of volunteers.

KNWA: COVID-19 Q&A WITH DR. MARK THOMAS (March 13, 2020)

To watch video, click here to visit the KNWA web page.
March 13, 2020 -
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — With big events canceled both in Northwest Arkansas and nationwide, there are a lot of questions surrounding COVID-19 also known as the coronavirus. Dr. Mark Thomas, physician at Washington Regional says hospital staff are working as hard as they can to be prepared for the virus.
What do you want people to know about the coronavirus?
Dr. Thomas: I think the most important thing is that everyone is affected. We want people that have symptoms to consider staying home and observing themselves at home, isolating themselves at home, to prevent spread of the outbreak. If you have any questions, call your doctor and get advice. If you’re not doing well, that may mean that you need to come in to see a provider or go to a hospital. Let providers know that you fear you may have been exposed to the virus so that they can take adequate protection.
What are some of the symptoms?
Dr. Thomas: The most important symptoms to think about are the usual symptoms people get with flu or cold. Fever, cough, and possibly shortness of breath.
Who’s most at risk?
Dr. Thomas: The most vulnerable among us. People that are older, who have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease.
The coronavirus is being compared to the flu. Can you talk about the similarities and differences?
Dr. Thomas: Unfortunately, although they’re similar and sometimes we can’t distinguish the symptoms, it’s important to know that the reason we’re all very concerned about the coronavirus is it has considerably more ability to spread. Maybe 20x as much. It has higher, severe effects, especially in vulnerable populations, maybe also 20x as much. That’s why we’re taking this illness very seriously.
Is it something that you get just once? Or can you get it multiple times?
Dr. Thomas: I’m not sure we understand the coronavirus that well. I think that it’s reasonable to assume that people have some short term immunity after having the illness, but it’s too early to say.
How long does the virus last after it has been diagnosed?
Dr. Thomas: Again, we don’t understand [the coronavirus] completely. It’s clear that people can present with symptoms after they’ve been exposed anywhere from two to 14 days. After getting the illness, most people think that the illness will last for a couple of weeks.
What does testing look like? When should people go get tested?
Dr. Thomas: Testing has been a challenge. This is the main concern of most people around the country. Testing is getting available here in Northwest Arkansas. The state health department has testing available as well as private labs. We’re trying to prioritize that for patients obviously sick in the hospital, those patients that are at risk of serious illness, such as people with heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and also screening healthcare workers that may have been exposed.

WASHINGTON REGIONAL CENTER FOR EXERCISE TO TEMPORARILY CEASE OPERATIONS (March 13, 2020)

March 13, 2020 - Effective at Noon on March 13, 2020: To protect our community, patrons and staff from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Washington Regional Center for Exercise will temporarily cease operations. Public health authorities are encouraging such steps to proactively prevent the spread of the virus. We will evaluate whether to resume normal operations on a weekly basis. Center for Exercise members will not incur any charges during this time.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IS WASHINGTON REGIONAL PREPARED FOR CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

Washington Regional providers and staff have been trained on procedures to identify and treat coronavirus (COVID-19). Our team is working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to monitor the latest developments and implement recommended screening and treatment guidelines. In order to protect the health of those we serve, Washington Regional Medical Center is discouraging visitation and screening all visitors and staff upon entrance to the facility.


WHAT IS WASHINGTON REGIONAL DOING TO PROTECT PATIENTS, VISITORS AND STAFF FROM COVID-19?

At Washington Regional, we are committed to the health and safety of our patients, visitors and team members. Providing safe, compassionate care is our top priority, and we’ve taken extra steps in our hospital, emergency department and clinics to keep you safe. Learn more about our COVID-19 safety measures here.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO PREVENT THE VIRUS?

Frequent handwashing is the first line of defense against coronavirus. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol are effective.

Other ways to prevent exposure to coronavirus include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces with household cleaning sprays or wipes
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • The CDC recommends using cloth face coverings in settings where social distancing may be difficult

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

If you have symptoms that are not life threatening, stay home. If you need advice:

  • Consult your primary care physician via telephone or digital communication.
  • If you do not have a primary care provider, consult the Washington Regional Coronavirus Hotline at 479.463.2055.
  • If you experience worsening symptoms, such as not being able to catch your breath, call 911 or visit the Emergency Department. We have implemented a modified visitor policy to limit the number of people in the facility. Family members should remain home or in the vehicle.

IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS, HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD GET TESTED?

First, call the Washington Regional Coronavirus Hotline at 479.463.2055. A health care professional can answer questions and direct you to the appropriate clinic. The hotline is available from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

A Marshallese COVID-19 screening hotline is available Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call 479.713.8708 for a screening.

The Washington Regional Coronavirus Clinic provides testing for people who are asymptomatic, or without symptoms, but have had direct exposure to someone with the virus. The clinic is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., 7 days a week and is located at:
Individuals who have active symptoms of Coronavirus or respiratory illness should visit our Fayetteville Urgent Care location for evaluation, treatment, and testing if necessary. The clinic is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., 7 days a week and is located in the William L. Bradley Medical Plaza at:
Individuals who may be tested include those one (1) year of age and older who are asymptomatic but have been exposed to someone with confirmed Coronavirus, or those who have symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The list of symptoms includes:
  • 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
  • Diarrhea

Because the supply of testing materials changes, we have established the following priority levels for testing based on CDC guidelines:

  • Symptomatic health care workers
  • Patients 65 years of age and older with symptoms
  • Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms
  • First responders with symptoms
  • Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms
  • Individuals who do not meet any of the above categories with symptoms

Washington Regional also offers Coronavirus screening at these additional locations:



I AM WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS. WHEN SHOULD I EXPECT TO RECEIVE A CALL?


Due to the large number of tests being processed, some results may take longer than expected. You will be contacted when your test results are available. Thank you for your patience.


WHO IS MOST AT RISK FOR COMPLICATIONS FROM CORONAVIRUS?

The CDC has expanded its list of those considered at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to include:

  • Individuals of any age with a chronic condition such as COPD, obesity, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, or an immune system condition
  • Older adults; risk increases steadily with age
  • Individuals with other conditions including asthma, high blood pressure, neurologic conditions such as dementia, cerebrovascular disease such as stroke, and pregnancy might be at increased risk
  • For the CDC’s complete list of conditions that may increase risk of severe complications, click here


WHAT IS WASHINGTON REGIONAL'S CURRENT VISITOR POLICY?

Washington Regional has implemented a modified visitor policy to safeguard our patients, team members and visitors, and slow further spread of Coronavirus. The visitor policy is subject to change as developments concerning Coronavirus necessitate. Currently, only patients in the categories listed below may have one (1) visitor each day. The visitor must be 18 years of age or older and pass a Coronavirus screening.

Patients who may receive a visitor are:

  • Patients receiving end-of-life care (e.g., terminally ill patients. Patients in this category should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may be allowed more than one (1) visitor.)
  • Obstetric patients (one adult support person who may leave the facility once per day. Temperatures will be taken each shift.)
  • Minors
  • Neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) patients (both parents or (1) one parent and (1) one support person will be allowed to visit at the same time, but may only leave once per day and return. Temperatures will be taken each shift.)
  • Emergency Department patients who are in critical condition Individuals who use a wheelchair or who have special needs (e.g., emotional instability, cognitive impairment where the presence of a single patient visitor may assist in patient care)


I HAVE AN UPCOMING APPOINTMENT AT WASHINGTON REGIONAL. SHOULD I GO?

Yes, Washington Regional has resumed normal operations including surgical procedures, outpatient testing and in-person office visits. Plan to keep your appointment unless contacted by your health care provider’s office. In some cases, your doctor’s office may utilize televisits. Their office will contact you prior to your appointment date to discuss details.


WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/
Arkansas Department of Health: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/ or 1.800.803.7847 to reach the call center.
U.S Department of State: https://www.state.gov/
Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Mapping: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html


RESOURCES


A Marshallese COVID-19 screening hotline is available Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call 479.713.8708 for a screening.

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