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St. Joseph’s/Candler to screen all scheduled surgery patients for COVID-19; some may be tested

May 6, 2020

To ensure a safe environment for both patients and co-workers, St. Joseph’s/Candler will screen all scheduled patients for COVID-19 who will be undergoing a surgical procedure during their pre-op visit. Testing may be required, which will be determined by your physician. 

Beginning on Monday, May 11, patients will be screened during their pre-op visit, as well as on the day of surgery. Screening includes checking for fever, inquiring about common COVID-19 symptoms, such as shortness of breath or cough, and other questions. This applies to scheduled pre-op visits at St. Joseph's Hospital, Candler Hospital and the Pooler Campus.

Testing is not mandatory and only applies to surgical and GI patients if scheduled more than three business days in advance and if the your physician determines testing is needed.

Special procedures, imaging and cath procedures are not included. Nor will children under 12 be tested.

“During this crisis, our priority at St. Joseph’s/Candler has been to protect the health of our patients and our co-workers,” said Paul P. Hinchey, President & CEO of St.  Joseph’s/Candler.  

As long as your surgery is scheduled more than 3 businesses days in advance, St. Joseph's/Candler's Central Scheduling team will work with your physician office to determine if COVID-19 testing is needed. If deemed so, St. Joseph's/Candler will give the office the date, time and location for the test at the same time it receives information regarding pre-surgical screening dates so this can all be communicated with you. 

Testing for surgical patients will be conducted at the pre-surgical testing/screening offices at either St. Joseph's Hospital, Candler Hospital or the Pooler Campus. You will get a reminder call several days in advance of your pre-screening/testing appointment.

Test results typically take less than 48 hours to receive. The results will be indicated in your chart and your physician will be notified of the results. The physician will then notify you of the results.

In the event that the patient tests positive, the physician will be contacted to determine next steps.

Urgent or emergent procedures are not included in the testing group, but all appropriate precautions remain in place.

This new process will affect approximately 100 surgical patients a day throughout our health system.

There are many patients who have delayed important surgical procedures during the COVID-19 crisis. It is our goal to put in place every safety measure that is reasonably possible in order to give patients the peace of mind that they can receive the care they need in a safe environment. St. Joseph’s/Candler will continue to stay focused on implementing and sustaining safety precautions as needed until the community is fully back to normal operations.

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