Hancock County has been blessed in our journey with COVID-19, recognizing fewer cases and deaths than one would anticipate based on the numbers experienced in other parts of the state and country.  As we move into the multi-stage opening process outlined by Governor Holcomb it will be important to remember some key points:

  • The virus is not gone
  • There is no vaccine and we have not achieved herd immunity
  • Treatments are still in the development stage

Given this, we must not lose our focus on the things that have worked so far:

  • Choosing to place physical distance between ourselves and others when possible (see attached CDC guidelines)
  • Washing our hands religiously with soap and water or alcohol-based products
  • Covering coughs and sneezes, or even better, wearing a mask in public spaces
  • Cleaning surfaces often that are easily contaminated
  • Calling our doctor if we suspect we have the disease or have been exposed to someone who does
  • Protecting the elderly and infirm by helping them continue to stay at home

All this said we are indeed happy that society, and the economy, will be re-opening over the next several months!  We will be adapting our operations to the “new normal” by unwinding some of our COVID-related functions as possible and re-opening our traditional services when appropriate, keeping in mind that social distancing recommendations will continue to be followed in all cases.

Changes to COVID-related functions developed during the crisis:

  • The Hancock Triage Clinic, Hancock COVID Triage hotline (317-325-2683 (COVD), and nurse@hancockregional.org email lines will continue to provide needed service to the community.   COVID-19 antibody testing for healthcare workers, first-responders, and others as needed beginning in mid-May
  • Our dedicated inpatient COVID unit will remain in place and ready to open if we experience large surges but we will handle the currently small number of individual cases within our normal intensive care unit.
  • The second floor of the Gateway facility has been converted for use as a 50-bed expansion unit in case we need it.  Though we intend to leave this surge facility in place for the duration of the public health emergency, it will have no impact on the other services provided at Gateway (low-cost, high-quality imaging, lab, and immediate care).
  • Visitation will continue to be limited, though at some point we will expand again to one visitor per patient, thus e-visitation will remain available for use if needed.  https://www.hancockregionalhospital.org/2020/03/friends-or-family-in-the-hospital-e-visit/
  • As we receive additional requests from the community for masks, we are continuing our efforts to collect cloth masks from those in the community willing to make them.  Should you know folks in the community who would like to participate, please have them contact Nancy Davis at ndavis@hancockregional.org.
  • The temporary transportation and food delivery teams will continue until other organizations that provide these services ramp back up.  If you know of individuals who need transportation or food assistance, please contact Amanda Everidge at Aeveridge@hancockregional.org.
  • We have made arrangements with Fairfield Inn to house hospital associates and medical staff, as well as first-responders in the community, who need temporary housing if they are concerned about carrying the virus home with them.  Please contact Amanda at Aeveridge@hancockregional.org for more information.
  • During the month of May, we will begin moving associates back to their normal jobs, removing restrictions on vacation usage and out of state travel, beginning on-site new associate orientation, closing the “Hancock Mini Market”, and ending special compensation programs for associates.

Following is a tentative timeline for re-opening some of our traditional services, assuming it remains safe to do so at each stage:

  • Ramping up now: elective surgery, physician office activity, imaging, lab, wound care, rehabilitation therapy, pulmonary testing
  • Planning for an end-of-May or early-June ramp up: limited services at the Wellness Centers, essential volunteers return to the hospital, limited Healthy365 activities
  • Planning for mid-June to early-July: community education classes resume, Gateway Immediate Care re-opens, Triage Clinic name change, Healthy365 full-service resumes
  • Late Summer to Early Fall: Volunteers back in place, student workers back in place, valet (or equivalent services) resumes, community events resume

Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God for the victory – Proverbs 21:31