UPDATE 3-17-2020: Visitor Restrictions
New Visitor Restrictions
Currently we must still use CDC criteria and call DPH for testing requests. We expect a commercial test to be available, but that appears to still be several weeks away.
How is Cooley Dickinson preparing for a possible outbreak of coronavirus?
There are a number of proactive preparedness efforts underway at Cooley Dickinson. Specifically:
- Leadership teams at Cooley Dickinson and our infection control department are in constant contact and coordinating our preparedness with our parent, Massachusetts General Hospital, and sister hospitals within the Partners HealthCare network; local and state health departments, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- We are already screening patients to identify high-risk travel.
- We are coordinating with the Mass Department of Public Health to have testing, for select cases, performed by the state laboratory.
- A multi-disciplinary team is collaborating to ensure Cooley Dickinson is ready to respond, if there is a need to test or provide care for patients with possible COVID-19.
- For staff that have international travel plans or that may be returning from travel, Cooley Dickinson is following Partners extensive and current travel policy and coordinating with our colleagues at Partners.
- Remember that good hand hygiene is always important; it is the key to protect ourselves, as well as patients, families and caregivers. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Mass DPH website and CDC website.
What is the difference between coronavirus and viruses that cause the common cold?
There are many types of human coronavirus, including some that cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses.
Most people get infected with one or more of these common coronaviruses at some point in their lives. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is NOT the same as these common coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus from an animal reservoir that had not been previously identified. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
Tests that we use at Cooley Dickinson facilities do not detect COVID-19. Testing to detect this virus is only performed through the Department of Public Health.
What should I do if I have cold symptoms or a mild cough? Do I need testing for coronavirus?
If you have only cold symptoms or a low grade fever, call your provider. Do not go to the Emergency Department and do not go to your provider’s office or a walk-in urgent care clinic.
At Cooley Dickinson, we have a triage call system in place that will address each person’s unique situation. Once we have your information, and if it meets the screening criteria, your provider will reach out to the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH) for guidance and possible testing. But there is a shortage of test kits so currently DPH will test only those with the highest risk.
If you are sick enough to see a health care provider, call your provider’s office before going to their office. If you have been in close contact with someone who has laboratory-proven coronavirus, call before going to the provider’s office.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
What should community members do to stay safe?
Although the risk to Massachusetts residents of the novel coronavirus remains low, the risk for influenza is currently high. Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cough into your arm or the inside bend in your elbow.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Download a printable fact sheet – this helpful guide can be posted in workplaces and public spaces: Prevent Flu and Other Viruses
- There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection.
Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?
Public health officials believe that the cloth masks do little to protect against coronavirus and can give people a false sense of security. The best protection against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Alcohol gel is also an option.
Many patients who present to Cooley Dickinson facilities with respiratory symptoms are evaluated for viral infections using nasal swab testing capable of detecting 20 different pathogens.
The results may include one of several types of coronavirus that commonly cause respiratory infections in the United States. Note, that there are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses (229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1).
Most people get infected with one or more of these common coronaviruses at some point in their lives. To be clear, the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is NOT the same as these common coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a NEW coronavirus from an animal reservoir that had not been previously identified. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
Tests that we use at Cooley Dickinson facilities DO NOT detect COVID-19. Testing to detect this virus is only performed at the CDC through the Departments of Public Health.
Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the health care setting.
When it is appropriate to wear a mask in public: if you are sick and need to go out. Masks are appropriate in waiting rooms, if you need to wait for an extended period, or if you are caring for someone who is sick.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
General Visiting Guidelines
Bring a smile, leave a smile.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital is located at 30 Locust Street (Route 9) in Northampton, Massachusetts. Visitors who need directions can use Google Maps and/or follow directions on our Locations & Directions page.
Visitors may park in lots A and H, the two large lots adjacent to the hospital’s Main Entrance, North Entrance and Emergency Entrance. Free valet service is available at both the Main and North Entrances. In addition, a few spaces are reserved at Women’s Health Midwifery Care for patients and visitors seeing providers or attending groups at the “yellow house.”
Directly to the right as you enter through the Main Entrance there is a hospital information booth staffed by friendly, knowledgeable volunteers. In most cases, they can help you find what you’re looking for, and can provide you with printed directions to most hospital locations that you can carry with you.
At Cooley Dickinson Hospital, there are no set visiting hours, but visitors are asked to respect patients’ needs for a restful atmosphere. There is no discrimination in visitor access based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This policy also strictly adheres to equal access for same-sex couples and same sex partners. In some cases, in the Critical Care Unit, Childbirth Center or other units, or at the patient’s request, visitation may be limited.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital is committed to providing the safest possible environment for its patients and staff, and for the community at large. We maintain the following visitation policies:
- No one who is sick should visit.
- The number of visitors should be limited to only those necessary for the patient’s comfort.
- Visitors should clean their hands before and after their visit.
Get more information on infection prevention and current local, regional, national and global health concerns HERE.
Directions to Conference Rooms and Educational Classrooms
For directions to meeting rooms, class and seminar locations, support groups, community groups and lecture/presentation rooms, click HERE.