Russell County Hospital re-implementing COVID restrictions

As the number of COVID cases rise in the community and Russell County is now in the red in terms of community transmission of the virus, Russell County Hospital is re-implementing COVID restrictions to ensure the safety of RCH patients, visitors, and staff.

It has been several weeks since the hospital relaxed a number of pandemic-related restrictions, but as the number of COVID cases has continued to rise due to the emergence of the Delta variant, Russell County Hospital CEO Patrick Branco said new guidance is leading the hospital to implement safety procedures again.

“OSHA kind of stepped in and said for the protection and safety of healthcare workers in particular, and healthcare workers being dentists, clinics, any healthcare entity including hospitals, they’ve reinstated and with the enforcement of law, CDC guidelines and recommendations are enforced by law,” Branco said.

Branco said the hospital will be bringing back restrictions on mask-wearing in the hospital, for both visitors and staff.

“There are mask mandates throughout the hospital, so if you enter the facility, you’re going to be asked screening questions and that can restrict your ability to enter the hospital until you’re tested if you are presenting symptoms,” Branco said. “Once you enter the facility, the expectation is that you’ll be wearing a mask as you go wherever you’re headed to. We’ll be enforcing that and we’re going to be enforcing that with our staff too.

We ask that you do as we do to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, and healthcare workers, and by extension our entire community. We’re really focused on that positive outcome.”

Visitation will also be changing. Branco said there will be limits of 1-2 visitors at a time for inpatients and compassionate care for patients who are dying or in hospice.

“We’re much more liberal on our ability to allow family members to be there in those last few hours,” Branco said.

Branco said the restrictions will be temporary and said “we’ll get through this again.”

“Know that we will get through this one too,” Branco said.

Branco also encouraged the community to get the COVID vaccine if they haven’t done so. The hospital has a large supply of vaccinations available for the community.

“These are no longer in short supply,” Branco said. “I highly encourage people to get the vaccine. That will really start moving us in the direction of taking the masks off permanently and get back to where we want to be.”

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.