April 9, 2020
Cheyenne, WY—Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) officials recently announced that they are requiring all patients, employees, providers and visitors entering the hospital to wear face masks.
“This new requirement aligns with recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that people in public settings wear face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” CRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Thornell said.
According to the CDC, “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (‘asymptomatic’) and … even those who eventually develop symptoms (‘pre-symptomatic’) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.”
Patients and visitors at CRMC’s East and West campuses, Davis Hospice Center and Cancer Center are being a given a face mask when they enter those facilities and as part of the COVID-19 screening process that CRMC implemented nearly four weeks ago.
Due to the nationwide shortage of surgical and N95 masks, most patients and visitors entering CRMC are being given cloth masks. CRMC employees and providers who work in nonclinical areas or who have minimal direct patient contact are also being issued cloth masks. Hospital employees and providers who provide direct patient care are being given professionally manufactured surgical masks or N95 respirators or are using Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs), depending on their contact with and potential level of exposure to patients being treated for COVID-19.
Employees are allowed to remove their masks if they are working in offices or are working in areas where they are consistently more than six feet away from other people. Employees must follow proper hand hygiene before and after removing or replacing their mask.
Patients who have clinic appointments in the medical office building (MOB) attached to the hospital will be provided with surgical masks if they have symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough or shortness of breath. Asymptomatic visitors to the MOB will not be given face masks. Visitors with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter either the MOB or any hospital facility. Only one visitor is allowed to accompany a patient into the MOB. No visitors are allowed into the hospital except in special circumstances, which are included in the COVID-19 section of the hospital’s website.
“We are extremely grateful to the community and Wyoming academic institutions for the more than 2,050 cloth face masks and 300 3D printed masks that have been donated through our Foundation to help safeguard our employees, providers, patients and visitors,” Thornell said. “I want to assure everyone who has donated masks or face shields that they are very much appreciated and are being put to good use.”
Conservation measures continue to be used at CRMC to ensure face masks are available in the coming weeks. This includes asking employees to re-use surgical and N95 masks for up to a week as long as the masks do not become damaged or soiled. Cloth masks are to be taken home, laundered and re-used.
As part of its conservation efforts, CRMC officials are also asking patients and permitted visitors to wear their own surgical or cloth face masks to the hospital or medical office building if they have them.
“We want to thank our patients and visitors for their patience and understanding as our response to COVID-19 continues to evolve and as we implement safety measures that are meant to protect our employees, providers, patients and visitors. This is a challenging time for everyone, but the more we can work together to follow the mask, hand hygiene, self-isolation and social distancing guidelines and recommendations, the better off we will all be.”
To date, five patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized at CRMC. One of those patients has been discharged and is recovering safely at home.
Information on how to make and donate masks to CRMC is available on the hospital’s website at https://www.cheyenneregional.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-information/donation-information/
CRMC Mask and Screening Requirements for Patients and Permitted Visitors*
Within Hospital Facilities (West and East Campuses, Cancer Center, Davis Hospice Center)*
- Everyone entering the hospital will continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and will be asked questions to determine if they are “at risk.”
- All employees, providers, patients and permitted visitors must wear a mask while inside the hospital.
- Patients and permitted visitors will receive masks at the designated hospital entry points if they aren’t already wearing one. (A visitor who has COVID-19 symptoms or who doesn’t pass the “at-risk” screening questions may not enter the hospital.)
Within the Medical Office Building (MOB)
- Everyone entering the MOB will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and will be asked questions to determine if they are “at risk.”
- Patients: A surgical mask will be given to patients with COVID-19 symptoms (including a fever) at the entry point.
- Asymptomatic Visitors: A visitor with no fever or other COVID-19 symptoms and who is not considered at risk may accompany the patient into the MOB. No mask will be given to the visitor entering the MOB.
- Symptomatic Visitors: A visitor who has COVID-19 symptoms (including a fever) or who doesn’t pass the “at-risk” screening questions may not enter the MOB.
*CRMC has implemented a “No Visitor” policy except in special circumstances. See the COVID-19 section of CRMC’s website for the list of exceptions: https://www.cheyenneregional.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-information/.