‘All of our services are open’ at OPMC

Coronavirus hasn’t changed hospital’s commitment to overall care

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ORANGE PARK – The threat and treatment of COVID-19 is very real at Orange Park Medical Center. But so are heart attacks, car accidents, broken bones and kidney stones.

“It’s not quite business as usual, but we’re open and all of our services are open,” said Lisa Valentine, the hospital’s CEO. “Actually, a very small percentage of our patients are respiratory patients. We’re very prepared here for what’s happening now and for what’s ahead.”

Privacy laws prohibit medical workers and facilities from providing any information on a patient. In fact, they’re not allowed to admit if they’re treating anyone for the novel coronavirus – or any other disease, attack or injury.

The Florida Department of Health reported late Tuesday that 37 Clay County residents have been positively diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those, 15 have required hospitalization. How many who’ve received treatment at OPMC can’t be released.

“We have a legal and ethical responsibility to our patients,” Valentine said.

Other than a security guard wearing a surgical mask at the front door and restrictions to visitations, there hasn’t been a big change in Orange Park’s approach to care. Flowers and get-well cards are still delivered. So are babies, meals and care.

The hospital also wants its patients and visitors to know it’s following every guideline to make sure nobody contracts the virus.

“I’m confident in our practices,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brad Shumaker. “We have protocols in place to protect ourselves against droplets. We’ve practiced for this. Folks are still seeing their patients. Our physicians are looking at published medical data to check on new treatment options.”

Visitors are screened at the front door. Anyone who’s exhibited any of the COVID-19 symptoms are re-directed around the corner to the emergency room.

“The things the public will see in response [to COVID-19] is the screening at the front door,” Valentine said. “It helps keep our staff and patients healthy. We’ve also restricted visitors.

“But this is what we do every day. All of our services are available. We’re open and doing business. I’m grateful for the way our physicians are working through this.”

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