JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Ballad Health has identified a cluster of positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests in Hawkins County, including three Hawkins County Memorial Hospital team members.
The affected team members work in direct patient care roles; however, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ballad Health has taken increasingly stringent measures to proactively safeguard its patients from the infection, including tightened visitation restrictions, increased personal protective equipment (PPE) use and heightened focus on hand hygiene.
To further ensure safety for patients and the rest of the community, Ballad Health is asking anyone who has been inside Hawkins County Memorial since March 20-March 31 to be especially vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, sore throat and fever. They should also strictly adhere to physical distancing recommendations of 6 feet or more, and they should remain home unless engaged in essential activities or reporting for work at essential businesses.
Ballad Health team members and physicians who might have been exposed to COVID-19 will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for healthcare workers. All testing will be coordinated with the Ballad Health infection prevention team, its team member health department and the Tennessee or Virginia Department of Health. If testing occurs, the individual must remain in quarantine at home until the test results are reported.
If a team member or member of the medical staff has been exposed, but continues as asymptomatic, they will not be tested for COVID-19. Team members in direct patient care roles, regardless of potential COVID-19 exposure, wear surgical masks every day to lessen COVID-19’s spread.
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call Ballad Health’s Nurse Connect line at 833-822-5523, available 24 hours a day. The health system has set up several testing sites throughout the Appalachian Highlands.
For up-to-date information about the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.balladhealth.org/COVID19.
As of 10 a.m. on April 2, the Tennessee Health Department Website is still reporting a total of five positive COVID-19 cases in Hawkins County. Check their website at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html for a regularly updated case count.