Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, team members and the community. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.
Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, you can also visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health website or contact their call center at 877-215-8336.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
We know there are a lot of questions about the emerging COVID-19 vaccines. Our goal is to keep you informed as vaccines are approved and rolled out for our workforce, patients and community in the weeks ahead.
We have created a list of common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines based on current knowledge and understanding. These questions will continue to evolve with time, so we encourage you to check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.
You also invite you to listen in as LifePoint Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Rehm and Chief Nursing Officer Michelle Watson, RN, MSN answer some of the most commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination and discuss its safety and effectiveness.
Effective Thursday, November 5, 2020, our facility is reimplementing ZERO-VISITOR protocol in response to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases in our region. Only patients receiving medical care will be permitted at this time. This applies to our clinics and our hospital. Some exceptions may apply if the visitor is:
- An individual who is actively managing healthcare decisions on a patient's behalf in the event they are unable to make those decisions for themselves.
- Accompanying an admitted inpatient specifically at the time of admission and at the time of discharge. Routine visiting will not be permitted.
- A support person with a patient in our Birthing Center at any time.
- A parent or guardian of an individual under 18 years of age who is under the facility's care.
- Visiting an individual under the facility's care who is receiving end-of-life care.
These increased safety measures do NOT mean you cannot access the hospital or your providers. Please seek medical care as needed. And if you are concerned you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call your provider in advance of going to his or her office. Of course, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room.
Southwestern Medical Center is taking every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities. For this reason, we are following the CDC recommendation and City of Lawton mandate that anyone who enters our hospital or our clinics must wear a face mask at all times.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own mask from home to help conserve hospital supplies for patients and staff.
Why wear a mask? Recent studies show universal masking, in addition to practicing social distancing and proper hand hygiene, can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, especially in individuals who may not know they are ill. And until there is a vaccine, these measures are our best line of defense in protecting not only you, but also our healthcare workers and community members.
Please be smart and do your part. Wear a mask! We all have a responsibility to protect one another against the spread of COVID-19 and make our communities healthier.
For more information from the CDC on face coverings and how to make your own, click here.
To learn more about the many ways we are working to ensure your safety while you are in our care, click here.
Everyone entering Southwestern Medical Center facilities will be screened, per CDC recommendations, this includes answering screening questions and having their temperature taken. Based on the screening, visitors may also be asked to speak further with someone, or come back at a later date. Screening will occur upon every entry. We know these increased precautions may seem concerning. We do not want to cause alarm – but we do want to send a clear message to our community that we are prepared, responding appropriately and are committed to protecting the well-being of our patients, visitors, employees and community.
Additional Closures & Cancellations
Closed Areas Within the Hospital
We have closed areas commonly accessed by the public, including the hospital cafeteria, gift shop, chapel and various waiting rooms. The cafeteria continues to serve patients and employees.
Prenatal education classes have been cancelled until further notice.
COVID-19 Online Risk Assessment
To help support the health of our community, we are providing access to an online COVID-19 risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This tool does NOT provide a diagnosis, and it should NOT be used as a substitute for an assessment made by a healthcare provider.
How do I get tested for COVID-19?
At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order. Visiting a provider does not necessarily mean you need testing or that you will receive testing. Your provider will work with the local health department to follow all appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to determine if testing is recommended based on your symptoms and recent travel history.
What are the qualifications for being tested for COVID-19?
Someone may be a candidate for testing if he or she has:
- A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case; or
- A fever and cough or shortness of breath and a history of travel from affected geographic areas; or
- A fever and cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization with no other source of infection.
What do I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19? I want to be tested.
If you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you are experiencing mild symptoms you can manage at home in isolation, you do not need to seek medical care.
I believe I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do next?
I’m experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I’m worried.
If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
Should I get tested?
Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care.
Worsening symptoms – I need to see my provider.
Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.
Will I be tested?
Your provider will make this determination based on your symptoms. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Oklahoma State Department of Health guidelines.
Emergent symptoms – I am having difficulty breathing.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms.
Will I be tested?
Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination based on your symptoms and any recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Oklahoma State Department of Health guidelines.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov
- Oklahoma State Health Department – www.ok.gov/health
- American Hospital Association – www.aha.org
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – www.cms.gov
- City of Lawton Preparedness & Proclamation – www.lawtonok.gov/news/covid-19-information-preparedness
What to do if You are Experiencing Symptoms
If your symptoms are mild:
- Stay home except to get medical care
If you are experiencing mild respiratory illness symptoms, you can and should isolate at home during illness. Restrict outside activities, avoid public areas (work, school, etc.) and refrain from using public transportation.
- Treat symptoms as appropriate
Treat symptoms with rest, plenty of fluids and over-the-counter medications, as appropriate.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
Separate yourself as much as possible, staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom, if available. Restrict your contact with pets and other animals.
- Monitor your symptoms
Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse (e.g. difficulty breathing)
- Call ahead before visiting a healthcare provider
Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.
If your symptoms are getting worse:
Seek prompt medical attention
Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.
If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 and notify the dispatch agent your emergency is related to possible COVID-19-related symptoms.
For more information and to stay abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19, you can visit www.cdc.gov.