Cities of Ames, Daisetta, Devers approve disaster declarations in response to Coronavirus

The Cities of Liberty and Dayton have already approved the extension of disaster declarations related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), and now the cities of Ames, Devers and Daisetta have likewise signed disaster declaration extensions. The City of Cleveland met Tuesday afternoon and is expected to also join the other cities in Liberty County in the disaster declaration extension.

The declarations prohibit the in-person interactions of large events and mass gatherings of 10 or more persons, including those attending conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies. This recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.

City leaders throughout the county are following recommendations set out by the Centers for Disease Control in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and overwhelm hospitals.

County officials are set to hold an emergency meeting at 1 p.m. Friday, March 20, to discuss the disaster declaration extension and to consider and approve the clarification of employee compensation during emergencies.

STILL NO CONFIRMED CASES IN LIBERTY COUNTY

Matt Thornton, CEO of Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center, 1353 N. Travis St. in Liberty, said that no news is good news when it comes to the Coronavirus.

“There are no cases in Liberty County. Emergency Management will make any media releases regarding positive cases if needed,” Thornton said.

The hospital has updated its visitation policy again, putting restrictions in place to protect the welfare of the general public and the patients and staff of the hospital.

“It is important to keep the public well, and it is important to keep healthcare workers well,” he said. “LDRMC continues to work diligently ensuring our community is safe and we are prepared.”

The following measures are in place at the hospital at this time:

  • All patient visitation is restricted with the exception of essential visitors that include government personnel; one designated caregiver acting on the patient’s behalf, such as a parent of a minor or a legally authorized representative and additional family members of patients at the end of life or presenting at the emergency department, subject to hospital administrative discretion.
  • Any essential visitors shall be prohibited from entering the facility who have: 1. Fever or signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as cough, shortness of breath or a sore throat. 2. Contact in the last 14 days with someone who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, is under investigation for COVID-19, or is ill with respiratory illness; or 3. Traveled within the previous 14 days to a country with sustained community transmission.

The hospital may enact more stringent restrictions on visitors to reduce the health and safety risk to patients and staff.

CLEVELAND HOSPITAL MEETING WEDNESDAY

Currently, Emergency Hospital Systems, which has two locations in Cleveland – Cleveland Emergency Hospital, 1017 S. Travis Ave., and Texas Emergency Hospital, 300 E. Crockett St. – is restricting visitors to one per day per patient.

Cassie Kavanaugh, chief nursing officer, said that the hospitals’ clinical leadership is meeting Wednesday morning to discuss increasing the restrictions. Those restrictions must be then approved by the hospitals’ executive leadership.

Some of the protocols already in place are that visitors must sign in at the reception desk and must be 18 years of age or older. No overnight guests are allowed.

Visitation hours are between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Emergency Hospital Systems is asking visitors to consider their own health before visiting the hospital to see a patient. If a visitor is feeling unwell, they should delaying their visit until they are well.

As there is no treatment for Coronavirus, the staff at Emergency Hospital Systems is doing everything it can to safeguard the health of patients and the community. Cassie Kavanaugh, spokesperson for the hospital, said that the hospitals have been preparing for a possible outbreak of Coronavirus since Jan. 31 and put a plan in place on Feb. 12.

“We came up with an emergency preparedness plan. We developed a questionnaire and put in place immediately to start screening people who had traveled outside the country,” Kavanaugh said. “We also did extra training and drills and our two locations in Cleveland in February. We are really trying to be on the forefront.”

All employees of the hospitals are on alertness for possible emergency activation, she added, which means they have to be prepared to stay for three nights at a time at a moment’s notice.

“That’s a worse-case scenario that we hope won’t happen, but we are prepared,” she said.

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