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69
Positive
981
Negative
1483
Pending
2533
Total Tests

* Updated: March 26, 2020 at 4:30 PM
Please note that these numbers are a combination of Forrest Health and Hattiesburg Clinic and reflect inpatients and outpatients.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

As of March 26, 2020, the chart below shows the number of combined COVID-19 positive cases for Forrest Health and the Hattiesburg Clinic.  The blue line indicates the total  number of positive cases per day combining Forrest Health and the Hattiesburg Clinic, and the orange line indicates the daily number of new positive cases between Forrest Health and Hattiesburg Clinic combined.  This is a total of inpatients and outpatients. Forrest Health covers a 19-county service area. Hover over the chart dots to see specific numbers.

Number of Positive Cases

Please listen to the facts. There are many rumors that only add to people being fearful and anxious. We are doing our best to provide the most up-to-date, factual information. 

To ensure timely communication with our patients and the community, regular updates, as listed below, will be provided on ForrestHealth.org/COVID19. We are in constant communication with local and state officials, monitoring CDC and state guidelines as available.

This site, www.forresthealth.org/covid19, is available in Spanish. The translation can be activated by clicking the button on the top right of the page on desktop computers. On mobile devices, the button relocates to the bottom right of the screen. Computers and mobile devices already defaulted to Spanish will now see the page in Spanish.

Para garantizar una comunicación oportuna con nuestros pacientes y la comunidad, se proporcionarán actualizaciones periódicas, como se enumeran a continuación, en ForrestHealth.org/COVID19. Estamos en constante comunicación con los funcionarios locales y estatales, monitoreando los CDC y las pautas estatales según estén disponibles.   

Esta página se actualizará a medida que la nueva sobre información COVID- 19 esté disponible.

This page will be updated as new COVID-19 information becomes available.

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 27, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.

CLINICAL UPDATE
There are currently four inpatients in Forrest General Hospital with COVID-19 illness. There are two inpatients currently at Highland Community Hospital.

SUPPLIES OF PPE (Protective Personal Equipment)
PPE continues to remain adequate. We are working with our vendors and resources daily.

FORREST HEALTH COVID-19 HOT LINE
Remember, Forrest General has created a Hot Line telephone number for anyone with general questions regarding COVID-19 or other general questions related to visitors, symptoms, supplies, etc. The Hot Line is staffed with nurses from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., seven days a week.

The Hot Line number is 601-288-1111.

THE COUGH AND FEVER CLINIC NOW OFFERS CURBSIDE TESTING
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic are now offering curbside testing for COVID-19. This testing will be provided through the Cough & Fever Clinic, located at the Cloverleaf Medical Plaza at 5909 US Highway 49 in Hattiesburg.

Patients must schedule an appointment online at www.curbsidecovid.com a minimum of three hours in advance to get tested. Drive-thru testing is not available at this time.

As a part of the online scheduling process, patients will be required to complete the registration process. Once these steps have been completed, the patient will receive a confirmation that the curbside appointment has been scheduled.

Upon arrival to the Cough & Fever Clinic, signage and staff will be present with further directions. Cough & Fever Clinic staff members will provide specific instructions to each patient regarding testing protocol, home-care and quarantine, as well as an estimated timeline for results.

Appointments can be made for curbside COVID-19 testing, from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Please Note: All FGH employees will be required to see a provider in the clinic rather than utilize the curbside service. This is due to our need to ensure our healthcare providers’ health through an accurate assessment with a physician.

VISITATION POLICY
Please refer to our Visitor Policy tab to review our current visitor policy.

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 26, 2020 – 4:30 p.m.

CLINICAL UPDATE
There are currently three inpatients in Forrest General Hospital with COVID-19 illness. There are two inpatients currently at Highland Community Hospital.

VISITOR POLICY CLARIFICATION FOR LABORING PATIENTS
Laboring mothers: One visitor can be with the patient through labor, delivery and postpartum. The one visitor cannot come and go, and should prepare to be with the patient the entire stay.

VISITATION POLICY
Please see the hospital’s current zero visitor policy exceptions under the visitor policy tab.

EMPLOYEE CHILDCARE
Thank you to Grace Community School and Daycare for assisting Forrest General in providing temporary childcare for ages six weeks to five years old. Communication was sent to employees earlier today.

CONTROLLED ACCESS/ENTRY
The main front entrance facing Highway 49 has been closed until further notice. Three entrances remain open:

  • Main ER patient/public entrance
  • ER staff entrance next to administration hallway
  • First floor of parking garage

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time of heightened alert. Please remember a ZERO visitor policy has been implemented with a few limitations and exceptions. See the current visitor policy tab.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES:
We encourage extra precautionary measures be taken to keep equipment and phones clean. When cleaning phones, use a wipe or towel sprayed with disinfectant. We advise against spraying cleaner directly onto a phone.

CONNECT WITH US 
Be sure to stay connected with us through our social media channels. In addition to the social media content, we post a notification letting followers know when this site has been updated. 

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 25, 2020 – 4:30 p.m.

CLINICAL UPDATE
There are three inpatients currently hospitalized at Forrest General Hospital with COVID-19 illness. Highland Community Hospital has three inpatients currently hospitalized.

We are making contingency plans in the event the number of COVID-19 patients increases dramatically in our facility. We expect the number to increase over the next 3-4 weeks, and the severity of the illness to increase as well.

SUPPLIES OF PPE (Protective Personal Equipment)
We continue to have adequate numbers of PPE, and are working diligently to conserve our resources should our census of COVID-19 patients increase dramatically.

VISITATION POLICY CLARIFICATION – LABORING MOMS
We are seeing a lot of misinformation regarding our visitor policy for laboring moms. Laboring moms are allowed one visitor to be with them. There are Facebook posts and group posts stating that moms are being asked to labor alone. This is totally incorrect. Please reference our visitor policy tab which clearly states that laboring moms are allowed to have one visitor. We are doing all we can to protect our patients, visitors and staff. We ask you to assist us in stopping this rumor.

 VISITATION POLICY – FRONT ENTRANCE
The front entrance to Forrest General will be closing at 7 p.m. beginning tonight until further notice. 

FORREST HEALTH COVID-19 HOT LINE
Forrest General has created a Hot Line telephone number for anyone calling into the hospital with general questions regarding COVID-19 or other general questions related to visitors, symptoms, supplies, etc. The Hot Line is staffed with nurses from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., seven days a week.

The Hot Line number is 601-288-1111

HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you would like to donate masks, please call the Hot Line and you will be routed to the appropriate area. 

Due to the number of inquiries regarding how to make masks, we have developed a step-by-step outline with photos, thanks to some of the ladies making masks, as well as a video we were provided to assist with instructions. Please reference the “How You Can Help” section in the top right corner of this page for the information.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BLOOD DRIVE SUPPORT!
We have been asked by several how past blood drives compare to the recent drive.  When combining all locations and the Vitalant Center, last week’s drive contributed 564 units. Past drives have ranged from 364-395 units. An important note – our past drives have not been promoted to the public and have only included employee donations and possibly a few family members who heard of the drive and asked to contribute. We are grateful again for the community response and all those who helped to make the drive take place quickly.

Forrest General Establishes Hot Line for Questions

Press Release – March 24, 2020 – 2:30p.m.

In an effort to help answer questions for the community, Forrest General has created a Hot Line telephone number for anyone calling into the hospital with general questions regarding COVID-19 or other general questions related to visitors, symptoms, supplies, etc. The Hot Line is staffed with nurses from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., seven days a week.

The Hot Line number is 601-288-1111.
Forrest General also encourages the community to visit www.forresthealth.org/COVID19, where they will find daily updates from Forrest Health along with links to other resources and information.

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 24, 2020 – 4:30 p.m.

CLINICAL UPDATE
There are four inpatients currently hospitalized at Forrest General Hospital with COVID-19 illness. Two patients are in the ICU and two patients are on the medical floor. Highland Community Hospital has two inpatients currently hospitalized.

UPDATED VISITOR POLICY
Please look at the Visitor Policy tab to see the new ZERO visitor policy that went into place at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Our visitor policy may be adjusted again as new executive orders come forth from the Governor’s office.

SUPPLIES OF PPE (Protective Personal Equipment)
We are receiving many questions from the community regarding how people can help with making masks. We are very appreciative of the community support, and we are currently gathering information to make available to the public outlining the steps and materials needed to make masks. We continue to have adequate PPE for staff at this time.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BLOOD DRIVE SUPPORT!
We are pleased to add 31 units from the Pine Grove location for the Blood Drive. In addition, we assisted in sending several to the Vitalant Center where 110 units were given. Thanks again to the wonderful support from the community!

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 23, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.

  • The clinical situation remains the same at Forrest General Hospital. We have three inpatients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 illness. Two patients are in the ICU and one patient is on the medical floor. Highland Community Hospital has four inpatients currently hospitalized.
  • Testing for COVID-19 illness remains difficult due to insufficient supply of testing kits. We expect new kits from different companies to be available this week. We also expect to have the ability to do onsite testing in our lab in the next 3-4 weeks. Until testing kits are more available, we are only testing two groups of patients in the Emergency Department:
  1. Patients who are ill enough to require hospitalization.
  2. Healthcare workers who are symptomatic for COVID-19 illness.

Other patients who have symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19 illness are being sent home for home quarantine and they can proceed to the Cough and Fever Clinic to be tested for COVID-19 illness.

We have developed a treatment protocol following current guidelines. Not all patients who test positive for COVID-19 illness will be treated. Only those ill enough to require hospitalization require treatment. We are working with the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure (MSBOML) and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDOH) to try to keep physicians within the appropriate prescribing guidelines. There is no data to suggest that treatment of outpatients improves outcomes.

  • Updated Visitor Policy
    Due to the increase of COVID-19 in our state, we are implementing a visitor policy for the protection of our patients and staff. The new policy will be in effect until further notice.
    Beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. a ZERO visitor policy will be in effect.
    The only exceptions and limitations to have only one visitor include:
    Laboring mothers
    Pediatric/NICU patients
    End-of-life (immediate family members – spouse/parents/siblings)
    Critically ill patients as determined by the treating physician (immediate family members – spouse/parents/siblings)
    Patients with special needs identified by the clinical care team (example: dementia and mobility impairments with increased risk of injury)

We appreciate your patience as we transition to this policy. Please continue to use hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently with soap and water if visiting a patient. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the hospital. Please make sure that you apply hand hygiene before and after patient contact

  • Spanish Translation
    We have collaborated with Iglesia Vida and Pastor David Martinez to produce a Spanish language informational video, thanks to Dr. Eduardo Soto. Please see the link on our website on the COVID-19 information page. We are also going to provide a Spanish translation of our daily update for our Spanish speaking community.
  • Supplies of PPE (Protective Personal Equipment)
    Supplies of PPE remain adequate, but stressed and we continue to search resources to find adequate supplies to protect our staff. At present, we are continuing to meet the needs of our staff for PPE.
  • Thank you for your Blood Drive Support! 
    Due to your tremendous support we were able to collect the following at our blood drives this weekend:

Friday, March 20, 2020 – 164 Red Blood Cell Units
Saturday, March 21, 2020 – 174 Red Blood Cell Units and 6 Plasma
Sunday, March 22, 2020 – 56 Red Blood Cell Units and 2 Plasma
Monday, March 23, 2020 (OI Location) – 28 Red Blood Cell Units (Update on Pine Grove location to follow after completion today at 6:00 p.m.)

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 20, 2020 – 4:30 p.m.

  • We have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital and 3 patients in Highland Community Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab.
  • We have procured an order of 1500 test kits for Forrest General to arrive and be in use on Monday, March 23, 2020.
  • Change of Location and Additional Day for Emergency Blood Drive!

Due to the wonderful turnout today for the blood drive, we have added an additional day and changed the location to provide quicker service.  On Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2020, the blood drive will be held at Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Convention Center located conveniently off Highways 49 and 59.  See info below.

We are in critical need of blood. Although we understand the need for social distancing, this has created a shortage in blood supplies due to fewer donations. We have a big need for Type-O specific blood, but all types are needed. See dates, times and locations below:

Forrest General Hospital – Friday, March 20, 2020
Adeline Parking Lot (across from Forrest General Parking garages on Adeline Street)
7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Lake Terrace Convention Center – Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2020
1 Convention Center Plaza, Hattiesburg, MS
Saturday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.

The Orthopedic Institute –Monday, March 23, 2020
OI Parking Lot
7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services  – Monday, March 23, 2020
Pine Grove Campus Parking Lot
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

At the drive, there will be personnel to let you know if there is a wait. If there is a wait, they will take your cell phone number and text you when it is your turn.  This will allow you to wait in your vehicle, in order to keep appropriate distance. We want to thank the public for the response and for their patience as we navigate new processes to handle our recent environment due to COVID-19. Please spread the word about the blood drive that continues tomorrow, Sunday and then at additional locations on Monday.

Special thanks to the Lake Terrace Convention Center for assisting us by providing the location for Saturday and Sunday!

  • Forrest General Coordinates Child Care for FGH Staff:
    In anticipation of daycares and schools closing, beginning Monday, March 23, the Family Y in Hattiesburg is offering childcare services, to Forrest General staff only, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, for school ages 5-12.  School age 5 means they turned age 5 prior to September 1, 2019.  Forrest Health will cover the expense of this service temporarily through this crisis.  The Y is asking anyone who wishes to utilize their service to, if possible, fill out the attached form (form was sent out to staff internally today) in advance of bringing their child(ren) in order to expedite the process. They are also asking staff to email ymcaofsoutheastms@gmail.com to confirm your child’s attendance in order for them to adequately prepare. The information they will want emailed is: parents’ names and phone number, children’s names, children’s birthdate, children’s age, current grade, and which days you will need the service. The service will run until further notice. We are currently working with a local daycare to provide services for ages 0-5. We will communicate further as soon as details are available. Directors, where appropriate, are encouraged to allow staff to work from home. However, staff should be available, if called, to work in the clinical/non-clinical labor pools or elsewhere as needed.
  • Please note that Forrest Health still has adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff. We are not without PPE as some rumors have indicated. This includes, N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns and gloves. Staff should continue to protect PPE so that it is available for staff and patients.Please see information below regarding staff use of PPE from Dr. Steve Farrell, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Forrest General:
    Our policy at Forrest Health is to utilize our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with our established policies and protocols (PP). These PP are built on sound medical and scientific information intended to provide the highest level of protection to our staff and the patients under our care while meeting a very significant demand with a severely restricted supply of PPE. Current policy is to allow any direct care provider to utilize a surgical protective mask and gloves when caring for any patient. Patients who are considered a Person Under Investigation (PUI) require a higher level of protection and in the care of those patients, we utilize full PPE including mask (N95 type), eye protection, gloves and gowns. N95 masks are not allowed for routine patient care due to the severe shortage in this type of mask. These guidelines are in accordance with all accepted standards the CDC has disseminated as well as the MSDOH. The leadership at Forrest Health is keenly aware of the value of our medical staff and personnel which enable us to continue to accomplish our mission of delivering care to our citizens/patients. In this regard, we will continue to provide our staff with the necessary equipment to accomplish their mission with the highest possible level of safety to the staff.
  • Elective Cases:
    The MS State Department of Health has announced that physicians, hospitals and medical centers must defer elective surgical and diagnostic procedures until COVID-19 spread has been diminished and the supply of protective medical equipment is restored.  Physicians and providers will be rescheduling non-urgent medical appointments for a later date.  Likewise, patients should reschedule any non-essential procedures, surgeries or medical visits until the threat of COVID-19 is diminished.

In light of the MSDH announcement to defer elective surgical cases and non-urgent medical appointments, many clinics will be offering telephonic and telemedicine (video) appointments to insure that patients have access to their physicians for chronic disease management. These visits are necessary to keep patients healthy even when they are unable to physically visit the doctor’s office.

  • Cough and Fever Clinic:
    The Cough and Fever Clinic continues to see in excess of 100 patients a day. This continues to be a very productive and helpful service.

Please remember that the Cough and Fever Clinic, a partnership of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic, is now open at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Immediate Care Cloverleaf location. The clinic is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m., 7 days a week.

Individuals who visit this clinic are not required to call ahead; however, individuals that have symptoms and plan to visit their primary care physician, an emergency room or an immediate care facility are still asked to call ahead.

IF INDIVIDUALS HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR SYMPTOMS, THEY SHOULD CALL THEIR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER FIRST. IT IS IMPORTANT, IN ORDER TO HELP US CONTAIN THIS VIRUS, THAT IF PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS, THEY CONTINUE TO USE THEIR CURRENT HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FOR CARE.

  • Additional Updates:
    • Controlled access at hospital entrances continues to be in place. A tab has been added on our website to give quick access to information regarding our current visitor policy system-wide.
    • Forrest General Hospital employees should enter and exit from the two designated employee entrances only. (See 3 /16/20 update below for details.) Make sure you have your ID Badge.
    • Effective Monday, March 23, the FGH Support Services Building, 125 South 28th Ave., will implement a controlled access process. Only the 28th Avenue entrance will be available for entry into the building. Employees and visitors will be evaluated at the door. Thank you for your cooperation.

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 19, 2020 – 5:30 p.m.

  • We have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital and 3 patients in Highland Community Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab.
  • Test Kit availability remains at a strain. We have procured an order of 1500 kits for Forrest General to arrive and be in use on Monday, March 23, 2020.
  • Announcement from MSDH!
    Elective Cases: The MS State Department of Health has announced that physicians, hospitals and medical centers must defer elective surgical and diagnostic procedures until COVID-19 spread has been diminished and the supply of protective medical equipment is restored.  Physicians and providers will be rescheduling non-urgent medical appointments for a later date.  Likewise, patients should reschedule any non-essential procedures, surgeries or medical visits until the threat of COVID-19 is diminished.In light of the MSDH announcement to defer elective surgical cases and non-urgent medical appointments, many clinics will be offering telephonic and telemedicine (video) appointments to insure that patients have access to their physicians for chronic disease management. These visits are necessary to keep patients healthy even when they are unable to physically visit the doctor’s office.
  • Emergency Blood Drive!
    We are in critical need of blood.  Although we understand the need for social distancing, this has created a shortage in blood supplies due to fewer donations.  We have a big need for Type O specific blood, but all types are needed.  Please see dates, times and locations below:
    Forrest General Hospital – Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21, 2020
    Adeline Parking Lot (across from Forrest General Parking garages on Adeline Street)
    7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

    Orthopedic Institute – Monday, March 23, 2020
    OI Parking Lot
    7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m

    Pine Grove – Monday, March 23, 2020
    Pine Grove Campus Parking Lot
    1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

    If you gave blood at the last FGH blood drive on December 10 and 11, 2019, you can still give one unit.  You will not be able to give double units due to the lack of time that has passed since the last drive.
    At the drive, there will be personnel to let you know if there is a wait.  If there is a wait, they will take your cell number and text you when it is your turn.  This will allow you to wait in your vehicle, in order to keep appropriate distance.

  • Cough and Fever Clinic:
    The Cough and Fever Clinic has been running full steam seeing in excess of 100 patients a day. This continues to be a very productive and helpful service.
    Please remember that the Cough and Fever Clinic, a partnership of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic, is now open at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Immediate Care Cloverleaf location. (Please reference 3/16/20 update below for detailed information.)
  • Additional Updates:
    • Tables and chairs have been removed from the Forrest General cafeteria to assist with social distancing. Hospital staff should not eat in large groups.  Do Not Add Chairs or Pull Tables Together.  No more than 4 people should sit at booths or tables.  The cafeteria continues to be closed to the public.
    • When employees use the cafeteria, they will be asked to swipe their badge or credit card to prevent multiple people handling badges and credit cards.
    • Please note that Forrest Health still has adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff. We are not without PPE as some rumors have indicated.  This includes, N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns and gloves.  Staff should continue to protect PPE so that it is available for staff and patients.
    • Controlled access at hospital entrances continues to be in place. (Please reference the 3/16/20 update for Forrest General visitor and employee information and the 3/17/20 update regarding outlying facilities:  Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home.)
    • Employees should enter and exit from the two designated employee entrances only. (See 3/16/20 update below for details.) Make sure you have your ID Badge.
    • Effective Friday, March 20, 2020, at 6 a.m., Forrest General Hospital’s building at 1414 S. 28th Ave., Hattiesburg, which houses Patient Accounts, Health Information Management, and Home Care, will begin implementing a Controlled Access policy similar to what is in place at the main Forrest General campus. All individuals that enter this building, employees included, are required to be evaluated before entry is allowed.

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 18, 2020 – 5:15 p.m.

·    We have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital and 2 patients in Highland Community Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab.

Emergency Blood Drive!

We are in critical need of blood. Although we understand the need for social distancing, this has created a shortage in blood supplies due to fewer donations. We have a big need for Type O specific blood, but all types are needed. Please see dates, times and locations below:

  • Forrest General Hospital – Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21, 2020 Adeline Parking Lot (across from Forrest General Parking garages on Adeline Street)
    7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m
  • Orthopedic Institute – Monday, March 23, 2020
    OI Parking Lot
    7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Pine Grove – Monday, March 23, 2020
    Pine Grove Campus Parking Lot
    1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

If you gave blood at the last FGH blood drive on December 10 and 11, 2019, you can still give one unit. You will not be able to give double units due to the lack of time that has passed since the last drive.

At the drive, there will be personnel to let you know if there is a wait. If there is a wait, they will take your cell number and text you when it is your turn.  This will allow you to wait in your vehicle.

  • Tables and chairs have been removed from the Forrest General cafeteria to assist with social distancing. Hospital staff should not eat in large groups. No more than four people should sit at booths or tables. The cafeteria continues to be closed to the public.
  • Please remember that the Cough and Fever Clinic, a partnership of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic, is now open at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Immediate Care Cloverleaf location. (Please reference 3/16/20 update below for detailed information.)
  • Please note that Forrest Health still has adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff. We are not without PPE as some rumors have indicated. This includes, N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns and gloves. Staff should continue to protect PPE so that it is available for staff and patients.
  • Controlled access at hospital entrances continues to be in place. (Please reference the 3/16/20 update for Forrest General visitor and employee information and the 3/17/20 update regarding outlying facilities: Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home.)
  • Employees should enter and exit from the two designated employee entrances only. (See 3/16/20 update below for details.)

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 18, 2020 – 11:30 a.m.

  • We have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital and 2 patients in Highland Community Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab.
  • Please remember that the Cough and Fever Clinic, a partnership of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic, is now open at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Immediate Care Cloverleaf location. (Please reference 3/16/20 update below for detailed information.)
  • Please note that Forrest Health still has adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff.  We are not without PPE as some rumors have indicated.  This includes, N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns and gloves.
  • Controlled access at hospital entrances continues to be in place.  (Please reference the 3/16/20 update for Forrest General visitor and employee information and the 3/17/20 update regarding outlying facilities:  Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home update below for visitor information.)
  • Employees should enter and exit from the two designated employee entrances only. (See 3/16/20 update below for details.)
  • An Emergency Blood Drive will take place on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and Wednesday, March 25, 2020.  A mobile unit will be set up in the Forrest General Adeline Parking lot on Adeline Avenue which is the street that runs adjacent to the Forrest General parking garages. This is an effort between Forrest General and Vitalant Blood Services.  More info will follow on the process for those who want to give.  If you would like to give prior to the scheduled blood drive, please call Vitalant at 601-447-6446.

Forrest Health Update:

Daily Update – March 17, 2020 – 5:30 p.m.

  • We have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab.
  • Forrest General Hospital has:
    48 ICU Beds
    86 Vents
    17 Negative Pressure Rooms
  • Please remember that the Cough and Fever Clinic, a partnership of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic, will be open tomorrow at the Hattiesburg Clinic’s Immediate Care Cloverleaf location.(Please reference 3/16/20 update below for detailed information)
  • A clinic has been established for Forrest General employees in the hospital basement.
  • Controlled access at hospital entrances continues to be in place.  (Please reference the 3/16/20 update for Forrest General visitor and employee information and the 3/17/20 update regarding outlying facilities:  Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home update below for visitor information)
  • Employees should enter and exit from the two designated employee entrances only. (See 3/16/20 update below for details)
  • Blood Drive – An Emergency Blood Drive is currently being coordinated between Forrest General and Vitalant Blood Services for next week.  A mobile unit will be setup.  More info to follow.
  • Medical Records Requests – Due to restrictions placed on entrance to Forrest General Hospital, Health Information Management’s release of information services has changed temporarily. Record retrieval for all walk-ins is only available at the HIM office at the Patient Accounts and Home Health office located at 1414 South 28th Avenue. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Forrest Health Update:
Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home

Updated: March 17, 2020; 8:30 AM 

Restricted Access and Visitation

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 6 a.m., the following hospitals will implement a restricted access and visitation policy: Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, and Pearl River County Hospital & Nursing Home. Forrest General Hospital’s entrance policy, announced in the March 16, 2020; 4:30 PM update, remains in effect.

  • No visitors allowed in Med/Surg, ICU, or Swing Bed areas.
    • All facilities have processes in order for designated patient representative/POA to obtain updated information concerning the care of their family member. Forrest Health has a form available in the FH Online Forms Repository, Form #880094, to be used for creating a code that families can utilize to receive information.
  • Emergency Services and Outpatient Services, including the clinics located within our hospital setting, will adhere to a no-visitor policy. The below exceptions allow one visitor per patient:
    • Minors under the age of 18.
    • Elderly or dementia patients with caregiver.
    • End-of-life situations
  • Labor & Delivery, and Surgery, will allow one visitor per patient.

NOTE: Per EMTALA, any patient with an emergency should be directed to the Emergency Department.

For Forrest General Hospital’s entrance policy, see the March 16, 2020; 4:30 PM update.

Forrest Health Update: All Facilities

Update: March 16, 2020; 4:30 PM 

  • Presently in our system we have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab.
  • As of this posting, 55 tests have been sent to the state from the Forrest Health System.
  • Blood Drive – An Emergency Blood Drive is currently being coordinated between Forrest General and Vitalant Blood Services. More information to follow.  Stay tuned.

Important Hospital Entrance Information: Forrest General Hospital

Please read the following information regarding entrances at Forrest General Hospital. 
This will go into effect at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020. 

Those entering Forrest General Hospital or the cancer center (visitors and staff) will be asked to have their temperature taken.  Following the CDC guidelines, visitors with a fever of 100.4 or higher, will be asked to put on a mask and go to the Cough and Fever Clinic located at the Hattiesburg Clinic Cloverleaf Immediate Care facility or to call their primary care physician’s office.  The Cough and Fever Clinic will open on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  (see previous posting for information) Staff will be asked to go to the Employee Health Clinic in the basement of the hospital.

NOTE: Per EMTALA, any patient with an emergency should be directed to the Emergency Department.

As you have heard, Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) supplies are a scarce resource.  Anyone leaving  Forrest General Hospital is subject to having their belongings searched.  We ask for your cooperation in this matter due to the need to keep all supplies in-house and available to our staff and patients.

The Entrance Hours are as follows for Forrest General:

  • ER Main Entrance for Patients – 24 hours
  • ER Staff Entrance next to admin hallway -open 24 hrs
  • Main Entrance (front lobby facing Hwy 49) – 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Level 1 Parking Garage Outpatient Entrance – 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Women’s Entrance 4th Level – 24 hrs for Labor and Delivery patients and one visitor, and physicians only

Hospital Staff should use one of the following entrances at all times :

  • ER Staff entrance next to admin hallway -open 24 hrs
  • Level 1 Parking Garage Outpatient Entrance – 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Cough & Fever Clinic, a service of Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic, to open Wednesday, March 18.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (March 16, 2020; 3:00 PM) 
Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic have announced the creation of a cough and fever clinic in an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading. On Wednesday, March 18th, the Cloverleaf Immediate Care facility located at 5909 Highway 49 South (located adjacent to Wal-Mart) will be converted to a clinic to assess patients with cough, fever, and other respiratory symptoms. 

  • This walk-in clinic will be open from 8am – 6pm 7 days a week and staffed by physicians. Individuals who visit this clinic are not required to call ahead; however, individuals that have symptoms and plan to visit their primary care physician, an emergency room or an immediate care facility are still asked to call ahead.
  • IF INDIVIDUALS HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR SYMPTOMS, THEY SHOULD CALL THEIR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER FIRST. IT IS IMPORTANT, IN ORDER TO HELP US CONTAIN THIS VIRUS, THAT IF PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS, THEY CONTINUE TO USE THEIR CURRENT HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FOR CARE.
  • Patients will be triaged and evaluated, and COVID testing will be done when appropriate based on clinical criteria and guidance for the CDC and Mississippi Department of Health.
  • It is open to all patients regardless of age or pre-existing medical conditions, regardless of their ability to pay. As patients are triaged, they may be asked to wait in their car until an exam room is available.
  • Hattiesburg Clinic dialysis and Endocriniology patients as well as patients who are presently receiving services at Cardiac Rehab should continue to receive their care, and measures have been taken to ensure the safety of all patients and staff.
  • This is not a drive-through clinic. All patients will be assessed by medical staff and screened to determine what testing is appropriate.  We continue to evaluate options for a drive-through clinic as testing supplies become more readily available.

This situation continues to evolve rapidly, and alterations to this plan may occur in the future.  Additionally, please try to be patient as medical offices are doing their best to handle all phone calls as they come in.

Forrest General Hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic to Host Press Conference

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (March 16, 2020; 10:00 AM) 

A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today, March 16, to announce a cough and fever clinic. The press conference will take place at Hattiesburg Clinic Cloverleaf Medical Plaza, 5909 US Hwy. 49. Bryan Batson, MD, Chief of Medical Informatics, Hattiesburg Clinic, will be the spokesperson.

Forrest Health Update: March 15, 2020 (2:30 p.m.)

Please listen to the facts. There are many rumors that only add to people being fearful and anxious. We are doing our best to provide the most up-to-date, factual information.

To ensure timely communication with our patients and the community, regular updates, as listed below, will be provided on ForrestHealth.org/COVID19. We are in constant communication with local and state officials, monitoring CDC and state guidelines as available.

  • Presently in our system we have 2 patients in Forrest General Hospital who have tested positive for Coronavirus per the MS State Department of Health Lab with several other test results pending.
  • As of this posting, 28 tests have been sent to the state from the Forrest Health System.
  • All Forrest Health facilities have adequate supplies on hand to meet our current demands, including N95 masks. This is a fluid situation that can change on a moment’s notice.
  • Forrest Health is not providing masks to the public. Masks are reserved for patients and staff.
  • You may see some of our staff wearing face masks. Those staff persons are being monitored for the 14 day incubation of COVID-19 because they have had low-risk exposure to the illness.  This is an attempt to protect others in case they develop symptoms.
  • We have discontinued serving meals to the public through our cafeterias system-wide.
  • Our visitor policy has changed to be one visitor per patient.
  • All Forrest Health public meetings have been canceled in system-wide facilities.
  • All Forrest Health student programs have been canceled.
  • All Forrest Health-hosted classes, screenings, support groups have been canceled.

A Memo from Andy Woodard, President/CEO

As the first hospital system in the State of Mississippi to diagnose COVID-19 patients, several of our staff have been exposed. Per the CDC guidelines on 3/13/20, we asked staff members who were categorized as a high-risk exposure to quarantine at home. The decision regarding whom to quarantine is based on detailed exposure analysis under the direction of the MS State Epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers. Every staff member who had high-risk exposure as of 3/13/20 was notified. 

Since this time, the CDC regulations have been updated allowing those with high risk exposure to return to work with certain precautions if they have shown no symptoms. Many states have already implemented this policy. The following was communicated today 3/14/20 from Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer, noting that after careful consideration and review staff may return to work with the caveats below: 

  1. Report the onset of fever or respiratory symptoms to supervisor immediately. If these occur the employee must self-isolate and undergo clinical assessment.
  2. Maintain twice daily fever and symptom log (cough, difficulty breathing) at home and while at work. Fever and symptoms must be checked at start of shift.
  3. Wear a surgical mask during work and adhere to strict hand hygiene.

It is important to note three things: 

  1. Exposure does not mean infection. Those that were exposed will not even be tested unless they are symptomatic. 
  2. Not all staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 patients are at risk. 
  3. You will be working along -side colleagues who will have a mask on. They are not contagious to you nor do you have to fear interaction. This is to take an abundance of caution, but it does not mean they are infectious.

The state reported yesterday that there have been 6 presumptive cases. Forrest Health has cared for two of these patients -- one in an outpatient setting, who is isolated at home, and one as an inpatient currently in isolation. Additionally, there is a suspected case at Highland Community Hospital, who is also in inpatient isolation.

Forrest General has sent 7 cases to the state for testing with 3 more pending to be tested

on Monday. Our outlying facilities have sent 5 with 3 more pending to be tested Monday. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

In this time of heightened alert, it is normal to feel scared. The antidote to fear is knowledge. The antidote to this COVID-19 pandemic is our resolve to work together to care for our community.

Thank you.

Andy Woodard

Forrest Health Hospitals’ Visitation Policies Change

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (March 12, 2020) 

Forrest Health hospitals, including Forrest General Hospital, Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, The Orthopedic Institute and Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services have implemented new restrictions on visitation to ensure the safety of patients, employees, and visitors.

Out of an abundance of caution, at this time, the facilities are implementing the following changes beginning Thursday, March 12, 2020, and will be in effect until further notice:

  • All hospital visitation will be limited to 1 visitor per patient.

Pearl River County Nursing Home and Jefferson Davis Community Extended Care Facility are restricting visitation to all person who are not employed or contracted by the facility to provide daily care.   

In order to provide an environment that is safe for patients, visitors, and colleagues the hospital is asking visitors to take certain precautions:

  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently and use an alcohol-based (at least 60 percent) hand sanitizer.
  • Use your elbow or a tissue, if available, to cover any coughs or sneezes and then dispose of the tissue.
  • Stay home or seek medical care if experiencing any symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and think it may be related to the Coronavirus, please call your primary care provider ahead of time before going to their office location.

Forrest General Addresses First Presumptive Positive Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) During Press Conference

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (March 12, 2020)
Forrest Health hospitals, including Forrest General Hospital, Highland Community Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital, Walthall General Hospital, The Orthopedic Institute and Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services have implemented new restrictions on visitation to ensure the safety of patients, employees, and visitors.

Out of an abundance of caution, at this time, the facilities are implementing the following changes beginning Thursday, March 12, 2020, and will be in effect until further notice:

  • All hospital visitation will be limited to 1 visitor per patient.

Pearl River County Nursing Home and Jefferson Davis Community Extended Care Facility are restricting visitation to all person who are not employed or contracted by the facility to provide daily care.   

In order to provide an environment that is safe for patients, visitors, and colleagues the hospital is asking visitors to take certain precautions:

  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently and use an alcohol-based (at least 60 percent) hand sanitizer.
  • Use your elbow or a tissue, if available, to cover any coughs or sneezes and then dispose of the tissue.
  • Stay home or seek medical care if experiencing any symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and think it may be related to the Coronavirus, please call your primary care provider ahead of time before going to their office location. 

The first case of COVID-19 in the state was discussed during a press conference Thursday at Forrest General Hospital. The State Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that a 49-year-old Forrest County male resident had tested positive for the virus.

Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, Asst. Director Forrest General Family Medicine Residency Program, reported this Forrest County resident had traveled out of the state and began showing signs of fever, cough and muscle aches upon his return to the state. He presented himself for testing at one of Forrest General’s clinics. Tests, both nasal and oral, were obtained and submitted to the State Lab for testing of the Coronavirus.

Prior to reporting to the clinic, the patient called ahead and was gloved and masked to help prevent the possibility of spread to patients and healthcare workers. The patient was subsequently sent home for self-quarantine.

Late Wednesday, Forrest General Hospital administration was notified by the State Lab that the test was presumptively positive for the Coronavirus and was being sent to the CDC for confirmation.

The patient also traveled with a companion who visited another clinic where the same tests were conducted and submitted.

“We are currently awaiting those test results,” Rouhbakhsh said.

“We want to thank this patient for calling in ahead of time before presenting, and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Rouhbakhsh said. At this time, the patient is reportedly doing well.

Forrest General has currently sent three samples to the State Lab for testing. All three have been negative.

Per the CDC, the symptoms for Coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Similarly, typical symptoms of the flu are cough, congestion and fever. For perspective, in 2018, the hospital treated 1,642 flu cases.

“It is far more likely that patients with these symptoms have an illness other than COVID-19,” said Rouhbakhsh. “Nevertheless we were aware that cases would eventually come to our state. We have been preparing for weeks to be ready to care for our patients. We will get through this.

“We are asking the public to rema0in calm. Due to outbreaks overseas and the national attention, supplies for personal protective equipment are in short supply. These are things like masks, gowns and gloves. Due to this short supply, we will be limiting the number of visitors inside our hospitals. Starting today, we will limit one visitor per patient until such time shipment of supplies starts flowing again. We ask for your patience during this time of heightened alert.”

First Presumptive Positive Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reported in Forrest County

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (March 11, 2020) A presumptive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in Forrest County. The Forrest County resident was never a patient at Forrest General Hospital and is self-isolated at home. The Mississippi State Department of Health released the attached press release this evening. More information will be provided by the MSDH tomorrow during a press conference at 11 a.m., which will be held in Jackson, MS.

Administration, leadership team members system wide, and the Forrest County Board of Supervisors have been assessing supply and equipment inventory and needs, looking at services such as home health and nursing homes, reviewing possible controlled access plans and many other possible scenarios. Planning and preparedness has been a priority. Forrest Health administration has been continuously meeting with several entities to prepare including state, county and city officials, and local organizations.

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Temporary Visitation Policies

Information regarding updated visitation policies at Forrest Health facilities.

Spanish Language Informational Video

Play Video

We have collaborated with Iglesia Vida and Pastor David Martinez to produce a Spanish language informational video, thanks to Dr. Eduardo Soto.

Mississippi State Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline

The Mississippi State Department of Health is now operating a hotline for convenient answers to questions about COVID-19 by phone. Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday):
877-978-6453.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
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Mississippi State
Department of Health

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
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Centers for Disease
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
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