Dr. Shaun Sheehan


DuBOIS — Penn Highlands Healthcare has not changed its visitor policies at this time, said Dr. Shaun Sheehan, medical director of Emergency Medicine for all of Penn Highlands Healthcare and leader of the PHH COVID-19 Task Force, at Thursday’s teleconference.

“It is important to note that we are still operating with all of our previous precautions in place,” he said.

However, one update made this week, per Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance, is that PHH is allowing one support person to be present with non-COVID-19 inpatients, Emergency Department patients and surgery patients,” said Sheehan.

“I have to emphasize this is a support person and not considered a visitor,” said Sheehan.

One area that will exclude any support persons will be the infusion centers, where people are receiving chemotherapy. That precaution is due to the high risk associated with the diseases being treated there, said Sheehan.

“Along with every patient, every support person is required to go through our screening process for symptoms and temperature checks,” said Sheehan. “After passing the screen, the support person will receive a pass that they must display on them for the duration of their time in our facility. With that being the case across our system, we require social distancing in all of our waiting areas, as well as the disinfecting of public spaces in our facilities frequently with industrial products that have been proven effective to killing coronavirus. One great example of that would be the more frequent cleaning of elevators.”

Sheehan noted that PHH was the first health system in the region to establish a dedicated COVID-19 unit.

“That floor has been transitioned back to its previous operation and could be reopened relatively easily if the need were to arise,” said Sheehan.

“Our volume of inpatient COVID-19 remains extremely low across our health system, including the Penn Highlands Huntingdon,” said Sheehan.

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