Saturday, March 14, 2020

Norman Regional Health System is taking proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our community during an outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. Our physicians, nurses, infectious disease experts, and emergency preparedness specialists have developed a plan that will be put in place if patients with coronavirus seek care within our health system. We are prepared to treat those who are sick and protect those who aren’t.

Update March 22, 2020

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Norman Regional Health System, along with four other health systems in the Oklahoma City metro, announced a new update to visitation policies.

Effective at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, Norman Regional Health System, is no longer permitting visitors for adult patients.

Also effective March 23, due to the special considerations for children’s care and labor and delivery care, one permitted, hospital visitor is allowed to accompany a child or labor and delivery patient to an appointment. This person must be over the age of 18, including siblings.

High level critical care, trauma, palliative care, hospice and adult patients requiring assistance from a guardian or caregiver will be addressed on a case-by-case basis regarding visitation.

Norman Regional is asking visitors who may be sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms not visit the hospital unless they are seeking medical treatment.

Update March 19, 2020

As we continue working together to safeguard Oklahoma’s health care workers, patients and community from the spread of COVID-19, five hospitals in the greater Oklahoma City metro area have decided to postpone elective, non-urgent surgical procedures. Those hospitals include:

  • Norman Regional Health System (includes Norman Regional Hospital and HealthPlex campus)

  • Integris

  • Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City

  • OU Medicine

  • SSM Health St. Anthony

    Elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures are those that can be rescheduled to a future time and will not significantly impact the patient’s health.

    This decision to postpone these surgeries was not taken lightly, given the fact that it will inconvenience patients and impact the co-workers and providers who serve in a surgical capacity. Postponing elective procedures that are safe to delay will protect patients and providers while helping hospitals preserve supplies of personal protective equipment and provide capacity for critically ill patients.

    Emergent and urgent surgeries and procedures will continue and include cases that should be done right away or within a 4-week time period because delaying the surgery could negatively affect the patient’s health. In consultation with patients, providers will determine the best course of action to reschedule their procedures in order to meet the patient’s specific health needs.

    Hospitals will begin contacting patients as their cases become eligible for potential postponement.

Update March 18, 2020

  • Patients and visitors should only use certain hospital entrances depending on their situation.
  • Visitors are only allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No visitation is allowed after 7 p.m.

Norman Regional Hospital

  • NE Entry: Patients needing services and one permitted visitor
  • South Entry: Permitted visitor of a patient in the hospital

Norman Regional HealthPlex

  • Women’s and Children’s Entry: Permitted visitors only
  • Main Entry: Patients needing inpatient or outpatient services and one permitted visitor

Norman Regional Moore

  • Physical Therapy Entry: Restricted to Physical Therapy patients only
  • Do NOT use the Main Entrance.

Update March 17, 2020

Norman Regional is doing everything we can to keep our patients, physicians and healers safe. Here are a few of the actions we have taken:

  • Suspended students and volunteers from coming to our facilities
  • Closed the dining areas in our cafeterias and limiting offerings to to-go or self-service items
  • Taking the temperature of visitors in our Intensive Care Units and Neonatal Intensive Care unit before allowing any entry. Those with a temperature of 100F or above will not be allowed onto the unit.
  • Closed our employee fitness centers
  • Visitors are limited to one, permitted visitor per patient per day
  • No visitors under the age of 18 are allowed at any hospital

Important Information for Those Seeking Care

Signs have been posted at Norman Regional Health System’s entrances and clinics asking visitors to inform our team if they have fever, symptoms of respiratory illness and have either traveled to a country with a sustained (ongoing) transmission (China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea) or been in contact with someone who was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Masks are available at our hospital entrances and registration areas.

Important Information for Visitors

The CDC reports that influenza is widespread across the state. Also limiting the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 is an important issue. To protect our patients and healers, and to prevent the further spread of disease, we ask that anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms refrain from visiting patients at Norman Regional Health System.

Due to risks of the coronavirus (COVID-19), flu and RSV, Norman Regional Health System is discouraging visitation, asking for one visitor per patient at a time, and not allowing visitors under the age of 18 at our hospitals.

In our clinics, there is a limit of one visitor per patient and the visitor will remain in the waiting room until his or her temperature is taken. If the visitor’s temperature is 100F or above, he or she will not be allowed to stay in the clinic but will be given further instructions on how to seek care.

Please see our People with Flu Symptoms blog for details including symptoms to look for.

However, our recommendation for people who think they may have COVID-19 is to alert NRHS even before coming to our facilities. We ask that people who suspect they may have this disease call the State Health Department Coronavirus Hotline at 877-215-8336 or their primary care provider. 

Our outpatient clinics are also calling patients to pre-screen them for COVID-19.

In Oklahoma

Please click here to visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health's website with all Oklahoma test results for COVID-19.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has a Coronavirus hotline at 877-215-8336 for people in Oklahoma with questions regarding COVID-19 and who feel they need to be tested for COVID-19. The Call Center is available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Call Center can also connect callers to Spanish-speaking interpreters.

About COVID-19

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency.

Helpful resources include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My surgery or procedure has been postponed. When will it be rescheduled?
A. Norman Regional joined four other health systems in the Oklahoma City area in postponing non-urgent and elective procedures. This was a difficult decision and it was made out of concern for our patients' safety. At this time we do not have a date for rescheduling, but urge patients to contact your surgeon's or physicians office with questions and concerns.

Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

A: For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

      • Fever
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

Q: How do people become infected with COVID-19?
A:The exact way the virus is spread is not fully known. With similar coronaviruses (such as MERS and SARS) person-to-person spread is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other viruses that cause respiratory illness spread. The persons at greatest risk are close contacts of someone who is infected and have been in the same room with them for a long period of time, such as healthcare personnel or household members.

Q: How can I help protect myself and my family?
A: The best steps to avoid contracting respiratory viruses include:

      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Q: Should I be tested for COVID-19?
A: If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider or the State Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline, 877-215-8336. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips and face, seek care immediately by calling 911.

Q: What does novel mean?
A: A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified.

Q: What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Q: What are the symptoms and complications that Novel Coronavirus 2019 can cause?
A: Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. If you have travelled internationally within the past two weeks and develop symptoms, please place a mask on and notify a provider. Travel history is important in identifying the risk for the patient.

Q: How does the virus spread?
A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of MERS and SARS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

Close contact is defined as:

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters), or within the room or care area, of a novel coronavirus case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE (e.g., gowns, gloves, PAPR); close contact can include caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a novel coronavirus case

– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a novel coronavirus case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.

Q: Does the respiratory panel that Norman Regional performs in its lab identify the COVID-19?
A: No, currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC and the Oklahoma State Department of Health are the only labs that are able to identify the COVID-19. NRHS respiratory panel identifies Coronavirus OC43, Coronavirus HKU1, Coronavirus 229E, and Coronavirus NL63.