DuBOIS — As of last Thursday, Penn Highlands Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman said there are 20 inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently being treated at a PHH hospital, “safely and securely,” at this time.

“I want to reassure the public again that we have safety protocols in place, and that we’re isolating these patients within our hospital,” said Norman during a media teleconference. “We have a safe environment for all of our patients to receive the care that they need.”

Norman said there are currently no COVID-19-positive residents at either of PHH’s two nursing homes, which are Penn Highlands Jefferson Manor in Brookville and Penn Highlands Pinecrest Manor in St. Marys.

“We continue to conduct weekly universal testing at those two facilities per the Department of Health for the employees and residents,” said Norman.

“As most businesses and organizations, we have had some employees test positive for COVID-19,” said Norman. “I’m very proud and appreciate that our staff always put patients first and follow safety protocols and procedures. We ask the employees reporting any symptoms they may have immediately get temperature checks regularly, wear masks and other personal protective equipment, and follow the safety, precautions and protocols in place.”

Norman discussed some of the safety protocols currently in place at PHH to protect patients and staff.

“All of our employees and visitors must wear a mask correctly when inside one of our buildings,” said Norman. “Employees in clinical treatment areas are required to wear approved goggles or face shields. Of course we have additional PPE requirements depending on if the patient is positive for COVID-19 or not.”

Norman also said that PHH performs screening and temperature checks at the entrances and support persons and patients coming through the main entrances.

“We have also restricted the number of entrances to our facilities and have also added a kiosk or self temperature check machines at all of our insurances,” said Norman.

Penn Highlands has also implemented additional cleaning protocols throughout their facilities.

“Also our community pharmacy in DuBois is offering no contact drop off and pick up 24 hours a day,” said Norman.

Virtual visits continue to reduce exposure through the hospital system’s MyHealthNow app, and are also offering parking lot waiting areas for most of the physician offices.

“Our hospitals are clean, safe, and continue to be here to care for our communities,” said Norman.

He said the safety of the staff and patients continues to be PHH’s top priority.

“Our facilities remain safe and open to care for our patients,” said Norman. “In many patient surveys, since the start of the pandemic, patients have commented that they recognize the precautions and safety measures we put in place, and they appreciate how safe they felt.”

PHH will continue to do everything possible to keep the patients and staff safe.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have maintained our safety measures and adapted them according to updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and also from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Norman. “We communicate regularly with our employees about the importance of following these precautions, so that they can stay safe.

“As you know, in the past few weeks, we’ve begun to see a significant rise in cases, like so many other areas throughout Pennsylvania and all across the country,” said Norman. “We have taken additional safety precautions, such as re-educating staff about appropriate and correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) usage, reminding our staff about hosting meetings via conference call or virtually to reduce exposure, and re-educate staff about how to better protect themselves.”

About Penn Highlands Healthcare

Penn Highlands Healthcare was officially formed on Sept. 30, 2011, and is comprised of six hospitals — Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield, Penn Highlands DuBois, Penn Highlands Elk, Penn Highlands Huntingdon, and Penn Highlands Tyrone—that have served area communities for the past 100 years. Its business continuum also includes two home care agencies, Penn Highlands Community Nurses and Helpmates, Inc.; two long-term care facilities, Pinecrest Manor and Penn Highlands Jefferson Manor; and a senior residential living facility, Elco Glen.

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