NORTON, Kan. – The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many businesses can operate. Like other businesses throughout Kansas, Norton County Hospital and Norton Medical Clinic have been working on procedures to gradually re-open more services and facilities following guidelines from federal and state government officials.
Since April 10, no visitors have been allowed in the hospital and clinic facilities; staff and patients seeking medical attention have been the only ones in most circumstances allowed in, as a safety measure to protect against potential spread of COVID-19. Starting Friday, May 15, restrictions will be lessened to include:
- All visitor and patient traffic will be limited to the Outpatient Entrance and front Medical Clinic Entrance.
- Those seeking emergency care will still present through the ER door.
- A screener will be at both the Outpatient and Medical Clinic entrance to screen patients and visitors.
- One visitor at a time is permitted to be with a patient.
- No visitors under 12 years of age.
- Visiting hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Visitors visibly showing symptoms (such as cough, fever and shortness of breath) will not be allowed in the facilities.
- Please avoid congregating and crowding; practice social distancing.
- Patients with respiratory symptoms will be required to wear a mask. Other patients and visitors will not be required but are encouraged to wear their own mask to the hospital or clinic, per guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state government leaders. Those who do not have their own mask but would like to wear one may be given a mask provided at the screening station. The hospital has a limited supply of protective equipment, which is why bringing one from home is the most desired option.
- Staff who provide patient care will continue to wear a mask at all times.
These details are subject to change at any time, particularly if the positive case counts of COVID-19 in the county or surrounding area increase. Please pay attention to and follow signs that are posted at the hospital and clinic facilities.
“It is fair to say that changes and challenges will be ongoing as we move forward blending all of our services with COVID precautions here at Norton County Hospital and Norton Medical Clinic,” said Gina Frack, CEO. “Please understand that just as we are lessening our restrictions based off a variety of factors, we may need to elevate back to higher restrictions again in the future. We use a number of ‘triggers’ to justify changes, all of which are based on internal and external factors and supported by current best practices from KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment), CDC and other reputable sources. We will let the public know via a news release sent out locally, on our website, Facebook and Twitter as things change.”
Patients should know that the hospital and clinic are taking necessary measures to keep patients safe. Some health care needs cannot wait, and emergency services are available any time patients need them. Telehealth appointments remain an option in some cases at the Medical Clinic and Outpatient Clinic. Staff will work with patients on the best appointment option for them. The Medical Clinic is continuing to see well patients at the first part of the day and sick patients at the end of the day to continue reducing potential exposure to COVID-19 or other contagious diseases.
The hospital is also planning to open up more elective services, such as surgeries that have been on hold during the governor’s stay-at-home orders. The current plan is to first re-introduce general surgery at the end of May, followed by other scheduled surgical procedures. Patients will be contacted about re-scheduling their elective surgeries.
As a reminder, if going to Norton County Hospital facilities with respiratory symptoms, please call in advance. The hospital number is 785-877-3351 and clinic number is 785-877-3305. It’s important to continue to wash hands frequently, social distance in public and only travel if necessary. COVID-19 is still an ongoing pandemic.
Keep up-to-date on COVID-19 information from local, state a