SOUTHBRIDGE, MA – As the number of new coronavirus cases in Massachusetts begins to decline, Harrington HealthCare System (HHS) is encouraging patients to return for care at service locations across its system, with additional new infection prevention measures designed specifically to protect against the COVID-19 virus now in place.
“Patient safety is always our first priority and it will continue to be as we return to a pre-pandemic level of services in our outpatient and ancillary service centers as well as all Harrington Physician Services offices over the next several weeks,” said HHS President and CEO Ed Moore.
“We want our patients to know that we’ve put extra measures in place to protect them so that they feel safe in receiving the routine, preventive and ongoing care that they need,” Moore said. “Temporary restrictions and suspension of some non-essential services was necessary at the start of the pandemic, but now that the spread of the virus is slowing and protocols have been developed that are effective in protecting patients, it’s important that people resume normal healthcare activities, especially those with chronic conditions.”
Moore says the healthcare system has implemented the latest COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting protocols, meeting and even exceeding the guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), across all of its facilities.
Those protocols include increased environmental services staffing, more frequent cleaning of high traffic areas such as elevators, registration areas and waiting rooms, and increased detailed cleaning of all exam rooms and inpatient rooms with hospital-grade, CDC-approved disinfectants.
Specialized disinfection technology including the use of UV light sterilizers, air scrubbers and disinfectant fogger devices is also in use, providing efficient and effective disinfection while posing no harm to the environment, staff, patients or the public.
Moore says that in addition to these additional disinfection measures; routine screening for COVID-19 symptoms is being performed at all outpatient care locations and Harrington Physician Services offices. Patients who have non-emergent symptoms that suggest possible infection with COVID-19 will be instructed to stay home and take advantage of Harrington’s new Telehealth service to receive care from home, when possible.
At both the Southbridge and Webster Emergency Departments of Harrington Hospital, additional protocols are in place to safely care for all patients, including those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
We are finalizing implementation plans for curbside triage at the Southbridge Emergency Department, in an effort to avoid patient interaction in the waiting room. Negative air pressure rooms are in place throughout the hospital to remove airborne particles from COVID positive patient rooms via air ducts. In addition, staff will continues to adhere to heightened and stringent protocols for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Even as cases of coronavirus decline, we want our patients to know that our vigilance in protecting them from the virus at our facilities will not,” Moore said. “Our goal is to assure our patients that they can safely return to receiving all the care they need from us moving forward. We certainly do not want our patients to become more ill, or have a chronic condition exacerbated, as a result of delaying care for fear of contracting the virus. We have always been here to keep you safe and healthy, that has not, and will not, change no matter what comes our way.”
Harrington HealthCare System is a comprehensive regional healthcare system serving more than 25 communities across south central Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut. The system includes Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, Harrington HealthCare at Webster and three additional major medical office buildings: Harrington HealthCare at Charlton, Harrington HealthCare at 169, also in Charlton, and Harrington HealthCare at Spencer; Harrington Physician Services, our primary care and multi-specialty physician group; UrgentCare Express at Harrington in Charlton and Oxford; The Cancer Center at Harrington in Southbridge, and the region’s largest Behavioral Health programs for mental health and substance use.