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Appalachian Regional Healthcare is offering a separate screening area for patients experiencing respiratory symptoms such as coughing, fever or difficulty breathing.

SOUTH WILLIAMSON, Ky. — To further protect their communities from the potential spread of respiratory illnesses to patients coming into the hospital Emergency Departments, Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) is now offering a separate screening area for patients experiencing respiratory symptoms such as coughing, fever or difficulty breathing.

The goal of the separate screening area is to limit the exposure of patients with respiratory symptoms to other patients with similar symptoms, and to separate them from other emergency department patients who are not experiencing respiratory illnesses.

Upon entering the hospital campuses, patients will see signs directing them to these separate screening areas – some ARH hospitals have erected tented areas while others will have designated areas away from the Emergency Department. Here patients with respiratory symptoms are evaluated for the proper type of testing and treatment their conditions requires.

As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, staff will wear proper masking and attire for screening patients with various contagious respiratory illnesses and patients will be given a mask as well.

Further, as part of the CDC recommendation of social distancing, in some locations, ARH staff onsite in the screening areas will utilize video consultations with physicians as part of the patient evaluation and screening process.

"As the region’s largest health care system, our top priority is the health and well-being of our patients, caregivers and the communities we serve in Eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. We are focused on limiting the spread of illness, treating patients who are ill and protecting people in our community,” ARH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Maria Braman says. “We want our communities to know that it is safe to come to our ARH hospitals and Emergency Departments, and that this is an additional step we are taking to protect them when they come to our hospitals seeking care.”

The ARH COVID-19 Hotline is open from 7a.m to 11 p.m., 7 days a week, to field questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, testing and prevention. The Hotline can be reached at 606-439-7100. For the most accurate and current ARH COVID-19 updates and information, call the ARH COVID-19 Hotline or Visit www.ARHCOVID19.com.