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Mon, Aug. 10

YRMC clarifies COVID-19 testing mandate for patients undergoing elective procedures

Yavapai Regional Medical Center west campus. (YRMC/Courtesy)

Yavapai Regional Medical Center west campus. (YRMC/Courtesy)

If you’re preparing to undergo an elective procedure – think colonoscopy - at Yavapai Regional Medical Center in the coming weeks or months, a COVID-19 test will be required at least a week beforehand.

For the few days, or week, it can take to receive results, patients are advised to self-quarantine, or at least to take necessary precautions to avoid situations where they might come into contact with the virus, protecting themselves with physical distancing, wearing a face mask, and practicing proper hand hygiene, explained Ken Boush, YRMC’s director of marketing and communications in an email on Wednesday. Family members are not expected to quarantine, however, they are to also be cautious of their activities to protect the intended patient from contracting the virus, he noted.

If a prospective patient ends up with a positive result, Boush said the procedure may then be postponed after a proper medical evaluation. At that time, though, the patient will be advised to isolate for a specified time - national, state and local health guidelines suggest isolation for 10 days from the date of a positive specimen for someone without symptoms and 10 days after the onset of symptoms, including 24 hours fever free and improving respiratory symptoms.

“This is a standard infection control practice that anyone in our community should follow if they test positive,” Boush said.

QUARANTINE VS. ISOLATION

Yavapai County Community Health Services Epidemiologist Stephen Everett explains that there is some confusion between the definitions of quarantine and isolation. Quarantine is intended for those exposed to someone with COVID-19; isolation is the term for those who need to be away from others because of a positive test result. A self-quarantine is longer than isolation, recommended to be two weeks from the last exposure to someone with the illness without developing symptoms. If symptoms develop, the quarantine moves into the isolation period, he explained.

In isolation, versus self-quarantine, patients are advised to stay in one area away from anyone else in a household, preferably with their own bathroom and individual food preparation with separate utensils. In self-quarantine, people might still conduct personal business, or even work, but with heightened emphasis on maintaining physical distance from one another, wearing masks, personal hygiene and disinfecting areas they might regularly touch or use, health officials said.

“If medical necessity indicates that the procedure can’t be postponed, other steps will be taken to proceed with the procedure while protecting the patient, physicians, nurses and others that will be involved with the procedure and any care after the procedure,” Boush said.

Under no circumstances, Boush emphasized, will emergency procedures for any YRMC patient be delayed.

“Patients that require an emergent procedure that requires an in-patient stay after the procedure may be given a rapid test which takes an hour or two for the results to come back,” Boush said. “The test will help our teams determine the best placement for the patient after the procedure is complete. A positive test will lead to the patient being admitted to a COVID unit after the procedure for recovery. A negative test will lead to the patient to be admitted to a non-COVID unit for recovery.”

YRMC has established separated COVID treatment areas on its campuses in both Prescott and Prescott Valley. Hospital leaders assure its medical teams are available 24/7 to care for all patient needs.

For further information about hospital protocols, contact YRMC at 928-445-2700 or visit the website: www.yrmc.org.

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