Frequently Asked Questions

In our Frequently Asked Questions section, we have tried to help answer several of the most commonly asked questions that our hospital receives. If you have additional questions or would like more information, please call 706-596-4000.

Is the hospital clean and safe?

Our hospital is clean and safe – just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. Our Environmental Services Department utilizes the highest standards for disinfecting surfaces and equipment, and follows the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for cleaning and disinfection of our facilities.

Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?

Our clinical teams will conduct twice daily “go/no-go” meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE, medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.

We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we’ll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.

Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?

Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.

Will my experience be the same as in the past?

Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What should I expect during my procedure?

Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions. We ask that you bring your own mask or face covering to cover your mouth and nose.

We continue to operate under a zero-visitor protocol out of an abundance of caution, so your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver will not be permitted to enter the hospital. We will gather their contact information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and share instructions for pick up at the same location.

You may never see another patient while you are here, and that is intentional for now. We are currently trying to minimize overlap in an effort to promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect the safety of all of our patients and employees.

You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.

You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.

What questions will I be asked during the screening?

The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have…

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Have you or someone's your household tested positive for COVID-19 and are you currently awaiting lab results for COVID-19?
  • Have you traveled outside the U.S. in the last 21 days or had contact with someone that has traveled outside the U.S. and is/has been sick in the last 21 days?

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.

How will I prepare for my procedure?

If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing – trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You also will be asked to check your temperature twice a day during this seven-day period and report any result above 100°F to your provider. Finally, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.

If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.

Will I be tested for COVID-19?

If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will place the order for the test, and the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test happens to be positive, your procedure will be postponed, and you will be given instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.

Can my family member/spouse/friend/caregiver come with me to the facility?

If you have a family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you, he/she will not be permitted to enter the hospital. We are still operating under our zero-visitor protocol out of an abundance of caution. When you arrive, you will either park and enter through one of three entrances (Butler Pavilion – Open 5:30AM to 7PM, Closed Sat/Sun, Atrium – Open 24/7, or Main Hospital – Open 5AM to 6PM, Closed Sat/Sun), or be dropped off by your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver, where they will remain in the car. We will gather their contact information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and share instructions for pick up at the same location.

What happens when I arrive for my procedure?

When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a cloth mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or face covering to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.

Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?

We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.
All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with the Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines. Our hospital has dedicated isolation areas for treatment of patients under investigation (PUIs) and patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

How can I stay connected with my family and friends during my stay as an Inpatient?

Video Chat – Patients with the help of a team member can talk via Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, or Facebook Messenger. We have tablets the patient can use to communicate. Team members will assist with setting this up for the patient. Patients may also use their own mobile devices.

Email – families and friends may send well wishes to patients in the hospital by sending an email to StFrancis-wellwishes@sfhga.com. Please put the name of the patient and the room number in the subject of the email.

If I have additional questions about my procedure, who should I contact?

If you have any questions, please call our team at 706.596.4000.