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Updated Visitor Screening Policy in Place as a Precautionary Measure Against H1N1

Epidemic In response to the increase in influenza like illness (ILI) cases throughout Kern County, and based upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) will be taking precautionary steps to protect patients, physicians, visitors and staff.

Beginning Wednesday, October 28, 2009, SJCH is implementing a new screening process that will prevent visitors with a fever from entering the hospital. Screeners posted at the main hospital entrance will check the temperature of every visitor, everyday, entering the main hospital building. To prevent exposure and prevent potential influenza transmission, those visitors with a temperature over 100.4° F will not be allowed to enter the hospital.

Visitors will be given a hand stamp that will allow them in/out privileges without being re-screened. The hand stamp will change daily. We strongly encourage you to wear your identification badge when entering the hospital to clearly show our screeners you are a SJCH employee.

Although this policy currently only requires visitors to be screened, additional screening requirements of everyone entering the hospital (including employees, medical staff, and volunteers) may be required if the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends a more extensive screening process for our area.

In addition, please remember to contact your supervisor and stay home should you have a fever, think you may have the flu or are not feeling well. Flu symptoms may include: fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. In H1N1 flu infection, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.

This new policy has created openings for employees who wish to work extra hours as screeners. If you are interested, please view the job posting on Connect and click on the “H1N1” link.

Your support is vital in implementing these and other influenza precautions that we must undertake in order to protect ourselves and our patients. SJCH takes its response to the H1N1 issue very seriously and strongly encourages all employees to do the same. For more information, please call the Infection Control Department at extension 2327.