Information for Patients & Visitors

Current 4/13/2020

The situation surrounding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to evolve and changes occur rapidly. Please know, that the health and safety of our patients, their families, and our team members remains a top priority for Sparta Community Hospital.  It is because of this, that a number of precautions are being implemented to help protect our community.

We take these proactive precautions to protect our patients, team members, and the communities we serve. We are sensitive to the inconvenience this may cause our patients and their loved ones, but we believe these measures of protection are essential at this time to keep people safe.

Changes in Delivery of Care

We, at Sparta Community Hospital & Quality Healthcare Clinic, understand that we have a duty to continue to provide care for patients in our community who do not have COVID-19.  In effort to keep those needing care with suspected respiratory illness separate from other patients, as well as to keep our emergency rooms as free from COVID-19 as possible, we are temporarily changing how we deliver care.

Patients with concerning symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing will still be asked to first call their primary care provider.  Office staff will continue to complete initial phone screening.  The patient will be directed to either isolate or to report to the temporary Respiratory Clinic/COVID-19 clinic for further evaluation.  For the patients who will be reporting for testing/evaluation, the patients’ primary care provider, and the provider in the Respiratory Clinic will consult. Patients will be given an appointment time and instructed to park along the shed in a numbered parking slot, and remain in their vehicle, until a staff member retrieves them.

Patients seeking same-day for other illnesses or injury will return to being seen at Convenient Care.

Patients needing to be seen for routine or follow-up care, appointments will continue to be made with their primary care provider’s at each of the Quality Healthcare Clinics. The PCP will determine whether the appointment can be via telehealth, or if they will need to be seen in person.

ALL patients are still asked to call their provider (Or convenient care if they do not have a PCP) before arriving to convenient care.

What do I do if I am concerned I have COVID-19?

  • If you, or a family member are experiencing concerning symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and want to be seen, we ask that you first call your primary care provider.  Clinic staff will conduct a phone screening with you, and provide direction.  If you do not have a primary care provider, please call Convenient Care.

I have a family member in the hospital, will I be able to visit?

  • Sparta Community Hospital is restricting visitation to all patients.  Loved ones requesting patient updates and/or discharge information are asked to call the Nurses Station directly at 618-443-1395.  The only exception will be in the case of compassionate situations, such as end of life care.  Decisions about visitation during an end of life situation will be made on a case by case basis, and will include careful screening of the visitor

My doctor has ordered a screening, testing or therapy – what should I expect?

  • All patients of Sparta Community Hospital outpatient services, Quality Healthcare Clinics, emergency department, Convenient Care, and The Center, will be screened upon registration.
  • Chairs are being reconfigured and/or removed in waiting rooms, to help ensure distance between patients.  You will also notice increased disinfecting of ‘high-touch’ areas by employees.

What departments or services are being put on-hold?

  • Preventive and/or routine screenings, such as annual mammograms, bone density tests, and sleep studies will postponed at this time.  Diagnostic screenings will be performed as scheduled.
  • Patients seeking routine blood work in the laboratory, are encouraged to stay home and delay coming into the hospital if possible.
  • Since a large part of Cardiac Rehabilitation involves hands on activity, all sessions will be postponed until further notice.
  • The Center and Marissa Fitness Center will be closed, with plans to re-evaluate on April 30.  Outpatient therapy (physical and occupational) is still operating as scheduled.

What is Sparta Community Hospital & Quality Healthcare Clinics doing to protect employees?

  • As a precautionary measure and to keep patients and team members safe, Sparta Community Hospital is monitoring employee temperatures upon arrival to work.
  • Recommendations regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being adhered to.

What if I need to be seen for something other than COVID-19 symptoms?

  • For patients needing to be seen for routine or follow-up care, appointments will continue to be made with your primary care provider.  Your primary care provider will determine if the appointment will be in person, or via telehealth.  At this time, if a patient is eligible for a telehealth visit, he/she will receive a phone call the day prior with instructions.
  • Patients seeking same-day for other illnesses or injury will be seen at North Campus Healthcare.
  • Patients with concerning symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing will still be asked to first call their primary care provider, so that we may be better prepared to care for you.  Patients will complete an initial phone screening; and will then be directed to either report to Convenient Care for further observation or to isolate.
  • All patients of Sparta Community Hospital outpatient services, Quality Healthcare Clinics, emergency department, Convenient Care, and The Center, will be screened upon registration.

Why is there a large tan tent in the parking lot?

  • The COVID-19 Emergency Response Team is working to prepare for a potential surge in patients at Sparta Community Hospital.  As part of the preparations, the team has been working closely with MEDS (our contracted ER physician staffing group), and IEMA.  A large tent from Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) has been delivered, and set-up by Sparta Fire Department.  A plan is nearly operationalized for how we will utilize not only the tent, but other areas of the hospital and staff, in the case that we do experience a surge in patients.

    COVID-19 Testing

    Due to limited quantities of testing kits available nationwide, and based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Sparta Community Hospital & Quality Healthcare Clinics will only be testing patients for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), if they are an hospital patient with unexplained pneumonia or a resident or employee of a congregate residential setting.

    The best thing you can do to protect yourself and others in your community is stay home while you have mild symptoms.  There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19, and having a test will not change the advice to stay home for 14-days or 72- hours after your fever has gone away and your symptoms are improving, whichever is longer.

    We cannot stress the importance of hand hygiene and social distancing at this time.

    If you happen to be in close contact to someone with COVID-19, it is recommended that you monitor your health for fever, cough, and shortness of breath for 14 days after the last day you were in contact with the infected individual.  You should not go to work or school, and should avoid public spaces during this time.  If you get sick during this time, please contact your provider so that he/she may begin treating the individual symptoms.  Again, having a test will not change your providers advice to self-quarantine.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donations

    Thank you for your interest in helping Sparta Community Hospital get much needed personal protective equipment and other supplies to our team members during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Cloth Masks

    Last week, the CDC announced that they are now recommending that people wear a cloth face mask, when individuals are in the community.  This is in light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country.  The recommendation is meant to protect people around you if you are infected, but do not have symptoms.

    With that being said, we know that many people are now scrambling to find a face mask.  As there are many awesome folks in the community making face masks, Sparta Community Hospital is offering to be a collection and distribution spot for masks.  A box will be set-up at the Hospital screening desk for donors to place masks.  Community members are invited to take a mask from the box.  Sparta Community Hospital strongly encourages individuals to wash their donated mask before wearing it.

    Please understand that although the CDC is recommended the use of cloth masks, that this does not mean community members should be relaxed in other preventative actions.  The CDC still recommends that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people (social distancing), frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions.  Remember, a cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others.  This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms. (CDC DIY Cloth Mask Instructions)

    Employees at Sparta Community Hospital are still doing everything we can to extend the life of our current PPE, and will not be resorting to cloth face masks for patient care.  As surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply across the country, please consider donating any you may have at home.

    We are currently accepting donations of the following:

    • Masks:
      • N-95
      • Earloop
      • Surgical
    • Gowns:
      • Isolation
      • Non-Descript
    • Gloves:
      • Nitrile
      • Sterile
      • Surgical
    • Eye Protection:
      • Face Shields
      • Goggles

    If you have items you would like to donate, please contact Materials Management at 618-443-1440.

    Protect Yourself & Your Family

    In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Sparta Community Hospital encourages you to protect yourself and others from not only the COVID-19, but all upper respiratory infections.

    Clean your hands often.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    Avoid close contact.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Put distance between yourself and other people.
    • Stay home if you’re sick.
    • Avoid public and/or crowded spaces as much as possible.

    Cover coughs and sneezes.

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.

    • This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

    Due to the changing nature of COVID-19’s presence, these procedures and recommendations will be revised accordingly in response to circumstances.