Moore County Hospital District (MCHD) officials are stepping up efforts to protect patients and staff from the coronavirus (COVID-19) after cases were confirmed within 100 miles of Dumas, according to Ashley Smith, MCHD Marketing and Administrative Project Coordinator. Though there have been no cases confirmed in Moore County, four cases have emerged in Amarillo and one each in Deaf Smith and Oldham Counties.
Among other things, the main entrance to Memorial Hospital will be restricted to "well patients" entering for "routine care" (outpatient services) between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. "Sick patients" will have to use the emergency room entrance on 1st Street. All other doors will be locked. Everyone allowed into the hospital or nursing home for any reason will be screened for signs of illness or disease risk factors. Visitors to both facilities had already been severely restricted before the latest measures. No visitors are allowed into the nursing home, and most, except for very few exceptions, are prohibited from the hospital.
In addition, officials say lab services will be moved to an off-site location and all business and administrative offices will be closed to the public. Business will have to be performed over the phone or internet, and people needing to drop off payments or paper work will have to use drop boxes that the district will set up.
The physician clinics of the district are postponing elective procedures and routine visits and restricting immediate care to those who are sick or require "essential or emergency services." Patients are asked to call to make a TeleHealth appointment for routine care. TeleHealth appointments are available at all the clinics: Family Health, Internal Medicine, Bone and Joint, Foot and Ankle, General Surgery, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Anyone having symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call before going to a physician clinic, doctor's office, or the emergency room.
Testing for the coronavirus is becoming more available in Texas and in Dumas, but because testing kits are in short supply, only those with symptoms are being tested, and only on the order of a physician. Routine testing for those without symptoms is not available.
Hospital officials say they have been making plans and procuring supplies to deal with any eventuality and feel confident about the ability of the district to take care of patients, should coronavirus cases emerge in Moore County. As one part of the preparations, the district is putting together a "reserve list" of health care professionals (practitioner, retired, student) not currently working for the district who would be willing and available to work if necessary. In addition, because personal protection equipment is in short supply across the country, the district is asking the community for donations of washable scrubs in all sizes, N95 masks, clear safety goggles, protective gowns, and forehead thermometers. To make a donation, obtain additional information or sign up for the reserve list, call Kathie Fuston at 806-934-7804.
Additional information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the hospital district's response is available on the MCHD website, mchd.net.