by Geoff Fox
Fulton County become the final county in the tri-county area to have a confirmed COVID-19 case when, on April 5, the Fulton County Medical Center in McConnellsburg, Pa. announced the first positive case in the county.
Fulton County was also the last county along the Maryland border to report a positive case. FCMC has been testing for the virus since early March.
Locally, Fulton County’s first case joins Washington County’s 47 confirmed cases and Morgan County’s three confirmed cases .
“The adult patient is doing well and is self-isolating at home,” said FCMC, Infection Prevention nurse Sherri Buterbaugh. “This case has ties to another state and does not directly affect business at FCMC, especially since the individual is isolating at home.”
Buterbaugh said the patient had called ahead and was met in the parking lot for the test and never entered the building and staff used the “utmost precaution.”
President and CEO of FCMC Mike Makosky said they continue to take “extraordinary steps” to maintain a clean, sanitized and safe environment for the patients when they need care and for employees to render care.
“We ask all patients and employees to enter through the Express Care entrance and be screened before proceeding to other areas of the hospital,” Makosky said. “Emergency patients are screened at the ambulance entrance before entering the emergency room.”
He added the staff is doing a “great job” cleaning and sanitizing public, patient and work areas throughout the day.
The hospital has also maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners, as well as the Pennsylvania Health Alert Network to gain information on CDC guidelines for best practices regarding COVID-19.
Staff at FCMC continuously review and adapt to all information and subsequent changes, Buterbaugh said.
Upon meeting certain COVID-19 specific criteria, patients are evaluated by a clinician.
“If appropriate for further testing, test collection for the Coronavirus is completed by FCMC staff,” Buterbaugh said. “Specimens are then sent to commercial carrier Quest for analysis and results.”
Quest, Buterbaugh said, is a nationally recognized lab testing center that has been referenced during President Donald Trump’s updates.
The tests do not yield rapid results like those associated with strep throat or influenza, she said.
FCMC advises folks to be vigilant and continue to follow the Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC guidelines for social distancing, staying at home and wear masks in public.
FCMC Express Care has reduced its hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you prefer an appointment, you can call ahead and reserve your spot by calling 717-485-7323.
The reduction in hours does not affect the Emergency Services department, which will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There is also a no visitor policy that is still in effect for Acute and Long Term Care with the limitation of one support person per patient for appointments to the rest of the campus including Express Care and Emergency Services. Everyone will be screened at Express Care and Emergency Services entrances for COVID-19 criteria.
If you meet those criteria, FCMC said to call your health care provider before going to their facility.
[H1]As of 11:36 a.m. 4/6/2020