As a leading provider of health care services, Chester County Hospital is endeavoring to be responsible stewards of the vaccines we received from the PA Department of Health. We are following the guidance publish by the CDC and the DOH to vaccinate hospital employees who fall in the 1A category (those who are essential providers of care (whether employed or voluntary) and who are at risk for exposure to COVID through the performance of their work duties.
At present, we are focused on vaccinating 1A staff who are employees of Chester County Hospital or on our affiliated staff. As we acquire more vaccine, we will be reaching out to 1A staff outside of the hospital with no relationship to a currently-authorized vaccination provider to offer vaccination services.
We recognize how very important vaccine is to our community and we are endeavoring to scale up vaccination capabilities, depending on supply, by partnering with county and regional resources.
Until vaccine is available for broader distribution, please continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing. Until enough people have been vaccinated to establish herd immunity, basic practices to prevent the spread of COVID must continue. Also, stay tuned for more information from the Chester County Health Department as the number of sites for vaccine delivery expand.
What precautions is Chester County Hospital and its Ambulatory facilities taking to make sure the environment is safe for me?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic came to our region, Chester County Hospital had been working and planning to ensure the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff. Now, as we work to implement plans to resume some procedures and surgeries which were deferred in March and April to protect patients, and shift appointments back to our facilities that had been conducted virtually, we are focused on continuing our rigorous safety procedures, which have included:
- Verbal attestation screening of all patients, visitors (healthy support person/s) and staff for symptoms every day. Those with symptoms are referred for testing. Patients with symptoms who are coming for an appointment will have their appointments rescheduled.
- Convening a committee purely focused on social distancing to ensure we consider multiple ways to keep patients, visitors, and staff safe.
- Enacting a universal masking policy which requires all staff, patients, and visitors to wear masks or face coverings at all times. Chester County Hospital will provide a mask to visitors/patients that do not have a mask upon entering the building.
- Testing each patient for COVID-19 24-48 hours prior to admission. If a patient tests positive, a decision will be made between the patient and his or her surgeon regarding the safety of delaying the procedure.
- Discontinuing the availability of magazines in waiting areas for your protection.
- Configuring all waiting areas to promote physical distancing including surgical waiting areas as well as pre- and post-operative areas.
What cleaning measures is Chester County Hospital taking to keep patients safe?
- Waiting areas/sitting areas are cleaned several times a day, in accordance with Infection Control guidelines.
- Chester County Hospital has increased the frequency of times that "high touch" surfaces are cleaned. Examples include special attention to table tops, elevator buttons, stairwell handrails, door knobs, keyboards, public washrooms, armrests.
- We have ensured that hand sanitizer is available to staff, patients and visitors, throughout the hospital.
- All isolation rooms, upon a patient’s discharge, are cleaned from top to bottom before another patient is admitted. This includes using UV light on the closed room, after the top to bottom cleaning.
- The Environmental Services Department (EVS) increased the number of its staff to support the Emergency Department (this staffing change pre-dated COVID).
- The EVS staff are available to promptly clean the ED bays, once the patient is discharged, or transferred, in accordance with Infection Control guidelines.
What precautions should I take when I come in for an appointment or surgery?
- 24 hours prior to your appointment, you will receive an automated text or call that is designed to screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms. Please respond to the text or answer that call. If you have any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 (these include fevers, chills, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, or sore throat), you will receive a call back from a nurse. He or she will review your symptoms with you and determine if you need a COVID-19 test, a telemedicine visit, or if you should reschedule your appointment or surgery.
- Wear a face covering or mask to your visit, procedure or surgery.
Do Chester County Hospital staff and physicians have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to keep me safe?
Yes, we have sufficient PPE to ensure that you, your visitors, and our staff are safe. All staff wear the necessary protective equipment required for their role. There is a committee at Chester County Hospital that meets frequently to assess our supply levels to ensure we are fully prepared to care for our patients’ safety.
What is Chester County Hospital doing to make sure I don’t come in contact with someone who has COVID-19?
- We are testing symptomatic patients and employees for COVID-19.
- We are testing patients for COVID-19 prior to surgery and procedures requiring general anesthesia or intubation or that are deemed high risk.
- All waiting areas as well as pre- and post-operative areas, have been configured to promote physical distancing.
- We are caring for patients in a specific COVID unit in our hospital that is separate from other patient care areas, in order to optimize our infection control practices and protect patients and staff.
Is it safe to come to the Emergency Department (ED)?
Yes – wait times are minimal. It is important for patients that have active symptoms (chest pain, pressure) come directly to the emergency room and do not present late for a complicated course of care. Currently, visitors are not permitted in the Emergency Department, please refer to our visitation guidelines for more information.
Is there a difference at different locations?
No. All of our hospitals and ambulatory practices are taking the same precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
What will it be like in the waiting room? Will you limit the number of people? Will people be required to wear face coverings?
- Everyone is required to wear a face covering or mask. If a patient or support person does not have one, we will provide one. Your face covering or mask must fully cover both the nose and mouth. Cloth masks, surgical masks and regular N95 construction masks are permitted in Chester County Hospital facilities. Any mask with exhalation valves, gaiters, bandanas, scarves and gas masks will not be permitted in Penn Medicine hospitals and facilities. Face shields should not be worn instead of a mask, unless for medical reasons.
- We enforce physical distancing and our waiting rooms have been reconfigured to only allow a limited number of people at one time.
- Chester County Hospital incorporates contactless check-in and check-out registration procedures through myPennMedicine, our patient portal. To reduce physical contact and save time when coming in for your visit/procedure, we’re giving patients who have a myPennMedicine account the ability to complete part of your health care paperwork ahead of time. On myPennMedicine, you can confirm or change your contact information, medications, allergies and current health issues before your visit. Just sign in to myPennMedicine, find your appointment in your To Do list, and select the Pre Check-In button.
How do I enroll in myPennMedicine?
myPennMedicine is a simple, secure way to manage your Penn Medicine health care and access your medical information from your personal computer or mobile device. To sign up, visit www.myPennMedicine.org.
Where do I park when I come to the hospital? Is there valet parking?
Valet service is temporarily suspended at all Penn Medicine locations to limit COVID-19 exposure. At Chester County Hospital, garage and outdoor parking, and drop-offs, are still available. We recommend you call the appropriate office if you have questions about parking, or visit Chester County Hospital’s website, which has specific parking details.
Will I be tested before my procedure/surgery? How does that process work? What happens if I test positive?
- Yes, all patients must have a negative COVID-19 test 24-48 hours before their procedure.
- If you test negative, your procedure will proceed as planned. If you test positive, a decision will be made between you and your physician regarding the safety of delaying your procedure. In most cases if your procedure is not of an emergent nature, it will be delayed for a short period of time to make sure that you stay healthy. If you and your physician agree that your procedure should proceed as planned and is of an emergent nature, we have practices in place to safely perform procedures on patients with COVID-19. You may be asked to have a repeat COVID test in 1-2 weeks if you test positive and continue to have no symptoms, to re-evaluate the timing of your surgery.
- We will work with your physician/surgeon to schedule you for a test at the COVID-19 Testing Center at Chester County Hospital 48 hours before your scheduled procedure/test.
- If you test positive you will receive daily follow up calls from our medical team to review your symptoms and provide supportive care.
- For patients who return to the hospital on a regular basis, i.e. for radiation therapy, it would not be appropriate or reasonable to test before every visit.
We understand the anxiety and concern associated with not being able to visit or accompany a loved one to an appointment. The guidelines for Chester County Hospital’s visitation policy have changed. Please visit Chestercountyhospital.org/visitor-guidelines for more information and the current visitation policy.