Medwatch: Infection Preventionists at CCMH discuss preventing COVID spread within hospital

Medwatch: Infection Preventionists at CCMH discuss preventing COVID spread within hospital

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Comanche County Memorial Hospital is loosening visitation restrictions and letting patients have someone at the hospital with them. Meagan Garibay, RN, who is an infection preventionist, said those visitors will check-in at the front lobby, get screened and get an armband. They'll have to wear it, along with a mask while at the hospital.

"That advocate will be the same advocate for that patient for the entire duration of that person's hospital stay," Garibay said.

The hospital's infection preventionists will be closely following this change to make sure this doesn't cause a spike in cases.

"The main job of an infection preventionist is kinda two-fold. If you come into the hospital with something we make sure that you don't give it to anybody else and if you don't come into the hospital with anything we make sure that you don't leave with anything," Garibay said.

The two infection preventionists at the hospital do a lot of surveillance on patients who have any type of infection. While there are two sides to their job, Chris Godman, who is an epidemiologist and also an infection preventionist, said there are also two sides to infection prevention. The clinical side and the data side.

"That's where Comanche County Memorial Hospital is really lucky,” Godman said. “We have Megan who is the infection preventionist and the nurse, so she's our clinical expert, and then you have me, where I'm more on the data side, the number's side."

Allowing more people inside the hospital while the coronavirus is still spreading is hard for Garibay and Godman, but they say they understand why it's needed.

"We want to be a little bit more strenuate because we're concerned about the safety of our patient population as they're very vulnerable if they're in the hospital and also our staff members," Garibay said. “But, we understand the importance of allowing these visitors back in the facility for the wellbeing of the patients that are here."

Garibay said they still have some patients admitted to the hospital because of the coronavirus. They’re testing everyone who is getting admitted. So, if you come to the hospital sick, ready to deliver a baby, or having surgery, you’ll get tested to make sure you don’t have the coronavirus.

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