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Op/Ed: Randy Cason, Pittsburg hospital president provides insight during COVID-19

randy cason pittsburg

Ascension Via Christi Hospital is Pittsburg’s full-service community hospital. This is a huge responsibility that we are taking seriously. We are dedicated to keeping our communities in Pittsburg and Fort Scott and those in the surrounding area safe.

Thank you to all of our associates who continue to serve our patients during this pandemic. We are grateful for the collaboration with local, state and national public health officials to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and protect the health and safety of our patients, visitors, physicians and associates.

We are learning more and more about the virus as this situation evolves. Our hospital leadership team and infection control specialists are coordinating our efforts with community physicians and medical staff, Girard Medical Center, Crawford County and Bourbon County health departments, Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to ensure that we are being responsible for our supplies, resources and staffing, as well as ensuring we are employing evidence-based infection control precautions and protocols.

According to the CDC, the health risks associated with the COVID-19 infection are low. However, we must remember that we have many individuals living in our community who are considered to be at a high risk of developing life-threatening complications in the event they are exposed to the virus. We must all do our best to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Some of the actions Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg and our Emergency Department and clinic in Fort Scott have completed so far include:

  • Placing associates at our entrances to screen every person for viral infection who comes into the hospital, including associates, patients and guests 
  • Reducing the number of entry points to the hospital
  • Limiting the number of people in the hospital by temporarily suspending the use of on-site volunteers and arranging for associates to work from home if their role allows them to do so
  • **UPDATED** Employing visitation guidelines - No visitors. One visitor allowed for Labor & Delivery, Pre- and post-operative care, Pediatrics, and end-of-life situations
  • Pausing some hospital services and activities, including community education and support groups
  • Postponing non-urgent appointments and elective procedures

We are committed to take further action as this rapidly changing situation continues to ensure we are being proactive and that our community’s needs can be met when COVID-19 eventually reaches Southeast Kansas.

I ask that all of you continue to support this effort by following the guidance of KDHE and the CDC:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Stay home with your immediate family, especially if you are sick
  • Practice “social distancing” by limiting travel and non-essential time outside your home
  • Seek out reliable sources of information for updates - kdheks.gov/coronavirus or our own website, viachristi.org

In addition, Ascension Via Christi has a call center for anyone needing COVID-19 information.  That toll-free number, 1-855-782-1039, is staffed 24/7, seven days a week. Ascension Online Care, our urgent care virtual platform, is another way you can access care from within the safety of your own home. Go to ascension.org/onlinecare and enter the code HOME for a discounted $20 rate being offered at this time.

We are proud to be Pittsburg’s community hospital and we need you to play an active role in  keeping our community safe. By adhering to the guidelines, you can do your part to protect yourself and your friends, neighbors and those considered vulnerable or at-risk in our community -- and the healthcare workers upon whose skills, training and commitment to quality care we all rely.

Additional resource: Virtual visitation tips

About Michelle Kennedy

Michelle Kennedy is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, Ascension Via Christi in Fort Scott and Wamego Health Center. She is a proud wife and mom and loves cooking, camping and spending time outdoors, her dogs and reading.