Texas County Memorial Hospital processed its first positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result late Monday.
The patient was tested through the drive-thru lab service and never entered any of the TCMH facilities.
TCMH is working with officials from the county and state health departments for this case and will for any others that surface in the coming days.
The positive in-house test result came just a few days after the hospital’s installation of equipment that results in quick turnaround on testing.
Residents are urged to call their TCMH physician’s clinic or the hospital’s emergency department if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms.
Patients will be asked a few questions when they call the clinics or emergency department and will be given instructions on the next steps appropriate for their care.
TCMH is following the state and federal screening guidelines. Not all patients who want to have a COVID-19 test will be able to get one. Only patients who meet the screening guidelines and receive an order from their TCMH provider will be tested for COVID-19.
The CDC recommends that patients should call their doctor if:
•They develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath.
•Have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19.
“It is important that the community understand what it means to self-isolate,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer said. “While not all patients are sick enough to warrant a hospitalization, those who test positive and can go home — should go home, but they have to heed the warnings and truly isolate themselves to prevent possibly infecting others.”
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), isolation means separating a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease.
Despite the surge in new COVID-19 cases in the area, Matthew Brown, MD reminded the community not to put off their medical care needs.
“Patient safety is our No. 1 priority,” Brown said. “Do not put off your necessary screenings, even at this time. We have seen a much higher severity of illness in the last few months because patients have delayed their medical care when they should not have.”
Murray mentioned that although the community is at risk right now due to the rise in the number of cases in the area, TCMH is prepared for an influx of COVID-19 patients in any of their facilities.