Medical Center, Christus detail coronavirus response at local facilities

Published 12:15 am Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Medical Center for Southeast Texas and Christus Family Hospitals are preparing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by offering community support and top-notch care, officials said.

The Medical Center for Southeast Texas is continuing to monitor the national and global pandemic and is preparing for the likelihood that patients with the coronavirus infection may require treatment at their facility.

Preparedness action steps include daily strategy meetings to review the latest information and recommendations being used by the Center for Disease Control and Department of Health.

The Medical Center of Southeast Texas is continuing to monitor the national pandemic by implementing an Emergency Management plan and include isolation areas within the hospital. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

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“We are here, as always, to serve all patients,” said Gary Mennie, chief medical officer. “Our commitment to providing care for the ongoing health and well-being of our community is vital, particularly in times like these.”

The Medical Center also implemented an Emergency Management staffing plan, Rapid Triage Procedure and a surge capacity isolation area within the hospital in the event of an escalating outbreak.

“To protect our patients and employees from the spread of COVID-19, we are making every effort to keep our facilities safe through enhanced screening of patients and visitors before they enter our facilities,” Mennie said. “All patients and visitors who enter the hospital from any access point are being screened immediately upon arrival.”

Walking in the double doors to the front of the Medical Center visitors and patients will be asked to identify if they have any of the following symptoms — dry cough, difficulty breathing, fever, body aches or sore throat.

At this time, the Medical Center of Southeast Texas has also put in place a restricted visitor policy, which currently prohibits visitors under the age of 12.

The Medical Center of Southeast Texas prepares for patients with the coronavirus by highlighting warning signs on the building and doors opening into the main lobby. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System is following similar procedures for their St. Mary’s Outpatient Center–Mid County.

Officials announced recently that in the event of a possible coronavirus patient needing hospitalization after screening, a portion of the facility has been designated for isolation and care.

All visitors and patients will also meet a security guard inside the front doors for preliminary screening before being allowed to access the patient center.

“We activated our preparedness plan for the coronavirus (COVID-19) at the very beginning of this year,” a CHRISTUS official stated. “We are following the guidelines set forth by the CDC and we are working non-stop with local health authorities and other members of our health community to make sure we are doing right by everyone we serve.”

CHRISTUS’ plan includes screening patients to clinical points of access.

The Medical Center of Southeast Texas uses a security officer at the front door to screen for visitors and patients for any symptoms of the coronavirus. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

“You will notice that we are screening patients who arrive to our facilities asking if they have had any travel to any region that has known community spread of coronavirus,” CHRISTUS states. “We do this because we need to know where they visited to carefully consider what sorts of infectious diseases they might have come in contact with.”

If a patient meets the current CDC criteria, and is showing signs of certain symptoms, the patient will be isolated in a special care room.

“These rooms are specifically made to care for patients with airborne infections, such as COVID-19. We are also equipped with testing capabilities, which we are able to carry out and send off to the proper laboratory for examination.”

CHRISTUS advises the community to wash their hands before eating, drinking or touching your face, get your annual flu shot and a pneumonia shot for anyone above the age of 65.

“The community should know we take this seriously,” CHRISTUS states. “Increased hand washing and sanitizing is more than just top of mind for us. It is how we practice safe medicine.

“So many Associates — from physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — are involved in making sure we can do what’s best for our patients and this community we serve.”

For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, visit