MEMPHIS, Tenn. – We have been actively preparing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) for several weeks and are committed to being transparent and sharing new information as it becomes available. We knew this novel virus would come to our community, and we have a plan and protocol in place to deal with this situation.
We have learned that a Le Bonheur Children’s employee was exposed to COVID-19 from the first confirmed case in Shelby County. This is the second case already announced by the Shelby County Health Department. When the employee developed symptoms, we immediately reported the information to the Shelby County and State of Tennessee Departments of Health and asked them to test our employee for COVID-19. The employee was already in quarantine at home.
We are following all protocols from the State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We have notified all patients, families and employees who came in close contact with the person and will work with the Shelby County Health Department to make sure all appropriate follow-up measures are taken.
We have implemented plans to limit access points and screen visitors at the entry to all of our facilities. Those actions include:
- Asking those who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 to avoid emergency departments unless they need hospital care;
- Strict screening procedures at all facilities; travel history, COVID-19 exposure, fever and/or respiratory illness;
- Limiting access points to all facilities;
- Restricting the number of visitors to two healthy adults per patient;
- Temporarily suspending all on-site meetings, events and tours of facilities;
- Instructing patients with fever or symptoms of respiratory infection to alert staff so appropriate precautions can be implemented;
- Encouraging individuals to visit trusted sites like lebonheur.org, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare COVID-19, www.uthsc.edu/coronavirus or www.tn.gov/health for latest information.
In order to protect the privacy of everyone involved, we will not be releasing any other information about the employee.
As always, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses and infections, please remember to practice good health hygiene. This includes frequent and thorough handwashing, refraining from touching your face, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, and staying home when you are sick.
If anyone you know is concerned about exposure and/or has mild respiratory symptoms, please encourage them to contact their primary care physician by phone. Of course, if symptoms are severe or they are experiencing shortness of breath, the Emergency Department is the appropriate site of care, but they should call first to let the staff know they are on the way.
We want to ensure we are well prepared in the event we are called upon to provide care for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, while also protecting the safety of employees, providers, family members, visitors and our community. We continually evaluate our processes to best meet the needs of our patients, and we are collaborating with the CDC and local and state Health Departments. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and will do everything in our power to help our community be healthy and safe.
About Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital:
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., treats children each year through community programs, regional clinics and a 255-bed, state-of-the-art hospital. Le Bonheur serves as a primary teaching affiliate for the University Tennessee Health Science Center and trains more than 350 pediatricians and specialists each year. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children’s Hospital.
For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit lebonheur.org.