Stay safe. Stay informed.
We understand information about coronavirus or COVID-19 can be overwhelming and sometimes scary. As your local healthcare provider, we have compiled up-to-date, accurate information for your convenience.
Currently all of OCH's doses of the COVID vaccine are reserved. We expect to receive more supply in February.
Mississippi is currently offering COVID-19 immunizations to the following:
- All Healthcare Workers and EMT / paramedics
- NEW - Persons 65 years of age or older
- NEW - Persons 18 - 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions
This is a new virus and a new vaccine. We understand there are many questions, and we are here to ensure you have accurate, up-to-date information to help you make an informed decision for you and your family.
When will we get the first vaccines?
OCH originally received 100 doses on December 21st and began vaccinating OCH employees who care directly for COVID patients. On December 29th, the hospital received an additional 600 vaccines from the Mississippi State Department of Health and began vaccinating healthcare workers who live and work in Oktibbeha County, as well as OCH personnel.
Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
The vaccines will be in limited supply and with be allocated to healthcare employees first, with priority given to those who have high levels of COVID contact. It may be several months before we have enough vaccine for all employees. Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.
How do we know the vaccine is safe when it’s so new?
COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offers protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. However, it does take time, and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine if the issue is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and choose the best course of action.
Do you still need the vaccine if you’ve had COVID?
The most recent Mississippi State Department of Health advice is that those who have had COVID-19 could safely delay vaccination until 90 days after illness, as research is showing it is unlikely to become re-infected within that window.
What are the possible side effects?
A detailed analysis of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine showed a “favorable safety profile, with no specific safety concerns.” The analysis indicates that serious reactions were rare, although side effects were common, with a majority of study volunteers experiencing reactions at the site of injection, headaches and fatigue. Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated and side effects usually go away on their own within a week. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is working and building up protection to disease.
Is this a one-time vaccine or will we need to get it annually like the flu vaccine?
The vaccine is a series of two shots, one month apart. We do not know yet if it will be an annual vaccination like the flu shot.
If I get vaccinated, can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing?
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
Our experts in infection control are working closely with care teams in our hospital, clinics and offices to make sure they are safe for you. We also follow guidelines from the CDC and the MS State Department of Health.
We screen everyone before they enter any of our facilities. Patients who are scheduled for a surgery or procedure are screened in the pre-op assessment and the day of his/her appointment before entering the building. Anyone scheduled for a non-emergent case who has a fever and/or symptoms of COVID-19 will be rescheduled for a later date. We also screen every staff member, every day.
Masks and Protective Equipment
Everyone over the age of 6 is required to wear a mask when they enter our facility. Non-clinical employees wear cloth masks, and our clinical staff is equipped with protective equipment.
We frequently and thoroughly clean and disinfect surfaces throughout all of our medical offices, waiting rooms, operating and procedure rooms, clinics and patient areas. We also clean exam, operating and procedure rooms after each patient. And, we wash our hands frequently — and have lots of hand sanitizer available for you, too.
We've redesigned our patient areas to ensure social distancing, which protects you, other patients and our staff. For now, we have a restricted visitation policy but hope to return to our former policies as soon as possible.
OCH REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER REVISED VISITATION POLICY
The following visitation policy goes into effect on October 12, 2020, until further notice, as part of our proactive measures to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe.
• General Acute Care Inpatients: Upon admission, two individuals will be identified as part of the patient’s care team and will receive a designated armband. Only one of the two visitors may be in the room at a time. The two visitors may meet at the outpatient desk to swap out. Patients at end-of-life may have immediate family members in the room (within reason and at the discretion of the staff).
• COVID-19 Suspect/Confirmed Patients: No visitors at this time, unless end-of-life or necessary clergy visit.
• Labor and Delivery: Since this department is a locked unit, the patient may have one adult visitor throughout her L&D stay.
• Postpartum: Once a patient has been moved to the postpartum unit, new moms will be asked to identify two individuals as part of her care team who will receive a designated armband. Only one of the two visitors may be in the room at a time. The two visitors may meet at the outpatient desk to swap out.
• Pediatric: Two parents or guardians are allowed with pediatric patients We encourage any pediatric patient over age six to wear a mask when moving through the hospital.
• Newborn Follow-up: One parent/guardian and one designated adult may escort the newborn to the follow-up clinic.
• Outpatient: Adult outpatients may have one visitor throughout outpatient stay. Pediatric patients may have two parents/guardians. Visitors will remain in the waiting room at the designated 6 foot separation. Once the maximum amount of people who can safely social distance is reached, visitors may be asked to remain in car until patient is ready for discharge.
• ICU: No visitors allowed at this time
• Emergency Room: Adult patients may have one designated visitor. Pediatric patients may have two adult visitors. In the event the patient is admitted, visitors must follow the policies above.
ADDITIONAL VISITATION INFORMATION:
• Any requests for exceptions to the visitation policy must be presented to the house manager who will coordinate with the corresponding floor manager or department director when available. Otherwise, the house manager will make decisions on exceptions.
• All patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for a fever (100.4 degrees F or higher), cough, and shortness of breath upon entrance to the hospital. All visitors will be required to wear masks while moving through the hospital. Patients and visitors are allowed to remove masks while in a patient room but will assume the liability of risk of exposure if they choose to remove their masks.
• Visitors entering the hospital from 5AM-5PM should only enter through the outpatient entrance. Visitors should only enter through the ER if they are with an ER patient or it is after 5PM.
• Visitors of patients will be allowed to go to the cafeteria. The only visitors who will not be allowed to leave the room are visitors of COVID positive patients and COVID suspects.
• Cafeteria remains closed to the general public for now. The only public who should be in the cafeteria are patient visitors, and they should have the special “Visitor” armband or outpatient visitor sticker on.
• Children under the age of 14 will not be allowed to visit.
• Clergy: Clergy will be allowed in the building to visit patients but must wear a “clergy” badge upon entry and have had COVID education provided by infection control. To inquire about the COVID education, please call Wes Andrews at 662-615-3110.
• Medical records remains closed to the public. If you need medical records or a hard copy of your COVID test results, call 662-615-2900, and arrangements will be made to get the necessary paperwork to you.
• The business office is open for paying bills only. Customers will be required to be screened and will need to wear a mask.
o We strongly encourage patients to utilize our online services at och.org and click on “Pay a Bill” or “Visit Patient Portal” on the homepage.
o If you would like to pay a bill over the phone using a credit card, call the number on your bill or our business office at 662-615-2600 or 662-615-2601.
o To register for the patient portal, call 662-615-2683 or email email@example.com.
• The parking garage is closed to the public. Please utilize the front parking lots. Entrance to the hospital will be limited to three access points:
Monday - Friday (5 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Saturday and Sunday (closed)
2. West Tower Main Entrance
Monday - Friday (5 a.m. - noon)
Saturday and Sunday (5 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
3. Emergency Department (open 24/7)
FOLLOW THESE CDC RECOMMENDATIONS:
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. More information on Are you at higher risk for serious illness?
Know how it spreads
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Wash your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectantsexternal icon will work.
Monitor Your Health
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
- Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
- Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
YOU SHOULD CALL 911 IF YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
Watch for symptoms
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult with your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
If you are sick with Coronavirus/COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.