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According to a news release issued by Newton Medical Center at 2:50 p.m. March 13, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Coronavirus, in Harvey County.

“Current information shows that most who contract the virus can be treated successfully at home,” said Val Gleason, NMC Chief Executive Officer. “We recognize that some people with COVID-19 may require hospitalization.”

However, effective March 16 Newton Medical Center will be restricting visitor access to all NMC locations, including the hospital and clinics in Newton, Hesston, Park City, Valley Center and Wichita.

All patients and visitors will be required to complete a screening prior to entry. The screening will look for respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath); check on international travel in the last 14 days and ask about close contact with a person that has suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

To limit the potential spread of COVID-19, patients with respiratory symptoms and possible exposure to positive COVID-19 patients will immediately be placed in a mask.

All hospital patients and visitors will need to enter through the Emergency or Front entrance. Visitors under 18 years of age will not be permitted unless they are a sibling to an infant in the Maternal Child Unit.

According to hospital officials, this decision was made under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to medical center staff, NMC has been working work closely with the Harvey County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) since February, and continues to do so.

The hospital has taken several steps within the organization to prepare, including launching an emergency response team, known as Incident Command, allowing NMC to quickly prepare without compromising current patients or staff.

If you suspect you may have the virus, please call KDHE at 1-866-534-3463.