By Cyndi Sellers
Even though Cameron Parish had no reported cases of COVID-19 as of noon Thursday, Cameron Parish health agencies are remaining vigilant in their response to the coronavirus emergency. Louisiana had 2,305 cases statewide, with 83 deaths and cases in 53 of 64 parishes. Calcasieu Parish reported 15 cases.
Hackberry and Johnson Bayou Rural Health Clinics, operated by West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, have taken measures to restrict visitors while continuing to provide care for the communities. Clinic staff and providers are still operating during normal business hours. Patients may call if they have any concerns or questions for their providers. Visitors are limited to those that are absolutely necessary, and all patients and visitors are screened before entry into the clinics.
Patients who have a fever or upper respiratory symptoms are required to call the clinic, and a provider will meet the patient outside the clinic in order to assess their condition prior to entering.
“We continue to serve our community and adhere to CDC guidance on infection in our facilities as usual,” said Kali Spell, Director of Marketing and Communications at West Cal Cam Hospital. “The health and safety of our patients and our employees are our highest priority.”
Patients are asked to call for an appointment. Clinic phone numbers are: Hackberry – 337-762-3762; Johnson Bayou – 337-569-2245. Clinic hours are: Hackberry – M,T,Th 8am-5pm, W 8am-noon, F 8 am-3 pm; Johnson Bayou – M-Th 7:30 am –4:30 pm.
“South Cameron Memorial Hospital is working closely with local and state officials on a daily basis to ensure the safety of patients, employees and members of the public during this historic event that is affecting not only our community but the entire country,” says CEO Leslie Trahan. “Out goal is to to ensure 24/7 access to vital health care services during this time. We have not discontinued any services; services available are 24 hour Emergency Room, Inpatient Services, Outpatient Lab and Radiology, and South Cameron Community Clinic (primary care and pharmacy pick-up).”
The hospital has implemented strict traffic control protocols, which include visitor restriction and screening to protect the public. Patients are asked to call first before coming in to the clinic. The hospital has COVID-19 test kits available for those who have symptoms, and has tested several people. All tests so far have come back negative.
Trahan said the hospital currently has adequate Personal Protective Equipment to provide care safely, and is monitoring daily, continuing to obtain needed PPE’s through all commercial and public avenues to ensure the ability to protect health care workers.
Lower Cameron Parish Ambulance Districts 1 and 2 are fully staffed and operating 27/7. Byron Broussard, District 1 Director, says all units are fully equipped with N95 respirators, personal protective equipment, and specialized cleaning supplies. Crews have been trained on using the portable ventilators which are on the ambulances.
In the interests of protecting the health of ambulance crews while they serve the public, 911 dispatchers will be screening calls, asking questions about symptoms and positive COVID-19 tests so that first responders can be wearing proper gear when they arrive. If any medic is exposed to symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive test, he or she will be quarantined for 14 days.
District 2 Director Rhonda Coleman said her units are also fully stocked and ready to respond. She is proud to note that her crews are fully staffed, and no one has chosen to stay home. She said call volume is actually down , which she attributes to the use of telemedicine, and there have been very few respiratory calls. “The public is doing a great job,” she said.