L-D hospital, nursing homes restrict access in response to coronavirus fears

Amanda Williams places signs at the closed entrances to Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center. The hospital has restricted access to three entrances as it responds to the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center is limiting the number of entrances, screening all persons who enter the facility and limiting the number of visitors in response to the evolving coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

In a statement from L-DRMC CEO Matt Thornton, he explained that the heightened response was fully put into action on Thursday, March 12.

The only entrances to the hospital at this time are through the outpatient, physical therapy and emergency department entrances. The outpatient entrance facing Travis Street and the physical therapy/administration entrance facing Magnolia Street will be open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The outpatient entrance is restricted to outpatient services, medical records release and scheduled clinic visits. The physical therapy/administrative entrance is restricted to physical therapy patients and administration guests.

The emergency room entrance that is accessed from the parking lot entered off Magnolia Street will be used for emergency room patients, inpatients and their guests.

All guests, including patients, visitors, vendors and staff, will be screened upon entry into the facility at the designated entrances. Personnel will be at each entry way to administer the short screening tool. Patients will not be denied entry, but they will be expected to follow staff directives regarding staying in their assigned room or waiting room.

Visitors will be limited to one per patient. Visitors may be denied entry based upon the nature of their visit.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Liberty County, but that could quickly change as some neighboring counties have reported cases.


Nursing homes homes throughout Liberty County are taking steps to protect their residents by restricting access and screening visitors. Data collected about the coronavirus suggests that the elderly population is most at risk to this latest strain.

To prevent the virus from sweeping through the facility and infecting residents, Liberty Health Care Center on Travis Street in Liberty is on lockdown with access limited to doctors, registered nurses and staff.

“We are rescheduling any unnecessary doctors’ visits. The safety of our residents is our first and foremost concern,” said Melissa McManus, speaking on behalf of the facility. “If family members need to drop off items for our residents, they can do so but we will meet them outside. Our residents are not leaving the facility at this time unless there is an emergency. That’s in place until further notice.”

Updates will be posted to the facility’s Facebook page.

The situation is pretty much the same at Magnolia Place Health Care, according to Administrator Adam Ott.

“We are keeping all visitors out and allowing only healthcare professionals right now. We are good whether this situation lasts two weeks or two months. We were prepared,” Ott said.

Tori Fulgham, director of Heritage Villa in Dayton, says the facility is following guidelines set out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“We are restricting access to healthcare professionals and our contract hospice employees,” said Fulgham, adding that most people appear to be understanding of the extra precautions.

“We are keeping everybody in the loop. We are letting our residents and their families know as much information as we are given by CMS,” she said.


On Thursday, the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management issued a statement Thursday updating residents on the threat and encouraging them to continue practicing good hygiene to avoid the spread of the virus.

“At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, and no medications approved to treat it. Non-pharmaceutical interventions like hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces around your home and staying home when you are sick are the most important response strategies,” the statement reads. “Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others within six feet through respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.”

Patients with confirmed 2019 n-COV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

To prevent the spread of the virus and many other common ailments, including the flu, people should take the following precautions:

  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Bluebonnet News is attempting to reach Cleveland Emergency Hospital to report on its response. As soon as that information is available, an update will be posted.

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