During the COVID-19 pandemic and now, as our communities continue to navigate the new ‘normal, it’s important to understand that when you need medical care, you should seek treatment. Erie Shores HealthCare's emergency department is open and available to provide you with safe emergency and essential care. We are also ready to safely care for you — in-person— for a wide range of your health care needs.
Chief of Emergency Medicine at ESHC Dr. Samar Dawood says that our communities need to know the hospital is safe. “Our staff are taking every precaution to ensure that you are safe while seeking treatment here for a non-covid emergency. People need to feel safe and we want people to know that when they are in need… we are here for them.”
ESHC has launched our public awareness campaign – “When in need… come to the E.D” to educate the public on the services and safety at our hospital.
Please carefully review all the safety measures we have in place to protect all our patients and staff members.
When should I call 911 or go to the emergency department?
- Call 911 if you are experiencing potentially life-threatening symptoms.
We understand you are concerned about your safety and the safety of loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic before but it’s important to seek medical care when you need it. Delaying care may create greater risks to your health.
The following are just some of the symptoms for which you should immediately call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. (Note: This is not a complete list.)
- Chest pain or pressure, palpitations, shortness of breath or other symptoms of heart attack or other heart problems
- Sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, loss of vision, problems with speech or balance, or other symptoms of stroke
- Unexplained or worsening shortness of breath, or other breathing problems
- High fever
- Intense or unexplained pain
- Heavy bleeding or bleeding without an obvious cause
- Severe injury or trauma, including deep, large, or severe cuts
- Possible fractures or broken bones
- Any other problems that you consider an emergency
What if I'm afraid to go to the emergency department?
We understand those fears. Our emergency department can isolate patients who may have COVID-19 or other infections from those with other emergent problems. Emergency department staff members wear personal protective equipment and place patients who may have COVID-19 in private rooms to ensure infections are not spread from person to person. Each patient room is fully cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves. Note also that waiting too long to seek care for some health care emergencies is a bigger risk than the chance of contracting COVID-19.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions
What safety precautions are you taking to help make sure the environment is safe and clean for me?
Your health and well-being are our highest priorities. At ESHC, our infection prevention specialist continues to provide current guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and we take infection prevention very seriously in all of our clinics, patient rooms and operating rooms. In addition, we have carefully planned and taken extra precautions to help ensure that we are doing everything we can to minimize any risk to our patients and staff members.
We are implementing the following safety guidelines in our hospital:
- Masked staff preparing tests.
- Everyone must wear masks in our care facilities.
- We are screening, and as appropriate, testing.
- Everyone is screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors as they enter our buildings.
- All patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to hospital admission and 72 hours prior to having a surgery or procedure.
- All staff members and physicians are screened daily. They do not come to work if there is any sign of symptoms related to COVID-19.
- We will immediately separate anyone in the facility who we believe may have COVID-19 before they encounter other patients, and we will offer to test as appropriate.
- We require universal masking and wear appropriate protective equipment.
- All staff members, patients and visitors (if permitted) must wear masks in the facility.
- Patients staying in the hospital may remove their mask when alone in their room, but when they are able, must put on a mask when staff, care partners, or others enter the room. This is especially important when staff is in close contact with the patient (closer than 6 feet).
- Our care teams treating COVID-19 patients wear personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- We are extremely focused on keeping our facilities clean.
- Surfaces and equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using products that are effective against a range of organisms and viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
- We clean our waiting rooms frequently.
- Our exam, procedure, treatment, and operating rooms are cleaned and disinfected frequently, including before and after each patient, according to the guidelines of our ESHC infection prevention specialist.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is always available.
- Our doctors, nurses, and all medical staff members sanitize or wash their hands before and after interacting with patients.
- We minimize the number of people at the facility and practicing physical distancing.
- Some hospital entrances have been closed to limit traffic and make sure everyone is screened.
- We follow all physical distancing guidelines for patients and staff members.
- Our waiting room chairs have sneeze plexiglass guards on either sides, and only a few patients are allowed in the waiting rooms at a time.
- The number of staff members in exam rooms and operating rooms is limited and only those essential to your care are present. We maintain at least 6 feet between people except during medical care activities.
- For now, we are limiting who may accompany a patient into our care facilities. Be sure to read our phased visitor guidelines We will return to our patient-centered visitor policies as soon as possible.
How do I know I won’t get COVID-19 in the emergency department?
Depending on the urgency of the patient’s medical needs, everyone entering the emergency department is immediately screened for symptoms of COVID-19.
Our emergency departments isolate patients who may have COVID-19 or other infections from those with other emergent problems.
The emergency staff wears personal protective equipment and places patients who may have COVID-19 in specially designated private rooms to ensure infections are not spread from person to person.
Each patient room is fully cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves.
How do I know I won’t get COVID-19 if I need to stay in the hospital for treatment?
ESHC has expertise in infectious diseases, and the training and preparedness to safely care for patients with COVID-19. This is our procedure for patients with COVID-19:
- All of our hospital's screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors.
- All patients are tested for COVID-19 at the time of hospital admission and 72 hours prior to having a surgery or procedure.
- Our highly skilled staff members know how to care for a patient with COVID-19, and how to protect themselves and others.
- Any patient known to have or under investigation for COVID-19 who is admitted to our hospitals is cared for in a separate area with special isolation precautions by a dedicated team of nurses, doctors, and other health care providers.
- Each patient room is fully cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves.
How does ESHC make sure nurses, doctors, and staff members aren’t sick?
All staff members at ESHC answer COVID-19 screening questions every day and attest that they do not have symptoms consistent with possible COVID-19 infection.
Anyone who reports symptoms is instructed to leave work immediately and report those symptoms to ESHC Occupational Health Services so that they can be evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed. Employees are not allowed to work if they have symptoms, and they must be cleared by Occupational Health Services before returning to work.
Are all ESHC employees tested for COVID-19?
We are committed to providing safe, high-quality care for our communities as well as protecting our patients and employees. We currently prioritize testing of patients and employees who show symptoms of COVID-19. We continue plexiglass. We will adjust our safety protocols when additional Ministry guidance or data suggests that this is appropriate.
Check out ESHC’s social media feeds for more with Dr. Dawood as he talks about the work in the ED.