KNOXVILLE AREA HOSPITALS ANNOUNCE PHASED REOPENING OF NON-ESSENTIAL SERVICES
KNOXVILLE, TN (April 28, 2020) – As healthcare organizations continually monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our region, area hospitals including Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Tennova Healthcare and The University of Tennessee Medical Center are working together with the Knox County Health Department and local mayors to have a phased, responsible restart of procedures and services that have been temporarily closed over the past several weeks.
The temporary closure affected non-essential procedures, diagnostics, and outpatient services. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital also limited certain non-essential pediatric procedures.
Factors that support reopening these services include: 1) effectively flattening the curve through social distancing and Knox County’s safer-at-home order, 2) improved COVID-19 testing, 3) aggressive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stewardship by healthcare organizations, and 4) a relatively low rate of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths in our area. Reopening non-essential services will allow hospitals to provide care for those needing diagnostic and surgical procedures while continuing safe care for all patients.
Beginning Monday, April 27, area hospitals resumed some outpatient diagnostic and clinical services (examples: mammography, outpatient rehabilitation services, etc.).
On Monday, May 4, hospitals expect to resume performing non-essential surgeries and procedures in a phased manner.
The phase-in of services will continue to expand during the next month, with a focus on stringent measures to protect patients, staff and providers from COVID-19.
These specific procedures related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will continue to be observed:
All patients will be asked specific health screening questions related to symptoms of and possibility of exposure to COVID-19. Patients may be tested for COVID-19 depending on the patient’s overall health status and clinical guidelines for the procedure or care they are receiving.
All social distancing guidelines will remain in place.
Hospital visitation policies will only allow visitors who are determined to be vital to the care of the patient. Other outpatient services may not allow visitors.
All visitors should wear a face covering at all times and will be screened prior to facility entry.
Hospitals will monitor supplies of PPE and adjust procedure schedules if needed to preserve resources in case of a community surge in COVID-19.
Hospitals will continually monitor COVID-19 in the community and may limit or stop performing non-essential procedures if a surge or spike in the number of positive cases occurs.
Patients who have questions about scheduling specific non-essential procedures or services should contact their provider’s office directly.