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News  follow NEWS | March 10, 2020

Aspen Valley Hospital officials assured hospital board members and the community at a board meeting Monday that the facility is prepared for what could be a lengthy battle with COVID-19.

“This isn’t going to go away tomorrow,” said Chief Clinical Officer Lori Maloy, adding the hospital is expecting to see cases from the Roaring Fork Valley. “It will probably be around for the next few months.”

Anyone who thinks they might have the COVID-19 virus should call their regular doctor first for a phone screening, according to AVH’s website. If they feel they must report to the emergency room, they need to call the hospital when they arrive onsite so doctors and nurses can prepare, Maloy said. Signs outside of the emergency department entrance indicate what phone number to call.

In addition, the hospital announced in a news release Tuesday that new entrance procedures will be instated at the hospital beginning Wednesday morning. All patients, visitors, volunteers, and vendors must enter through the hospital’s east entrance, where they will be asked screening questions prior to being allowed entry.

The emergency room department will implement night procedures 24 hours a day, meaning that patients who arrive must call a phone number and be screened first by an ER nurse before entry, according to the release. The emergency room will be the only entry point to the hospital after 5 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends.

“Aspen Valley Hospital will be limiting hospital access to only patients and their visitors, and not allowing access for other persons who do not have a healthcare-related reason to be at the hospital,” the release states. “While ongoing classes are still running as planned, all participants will be screened prior to entering those classes.”

The Snowmass Clinic in Snowmass Village and the After-Hours Medical Care clinic in Basalt also will begin phone-screening procedures before allowing patients entry, the release states.

AVH has about 400 protective masks on hand, as well as an ozone machine that can sterilize the masks and allow the hospital to use each one 10 times, Maloy said at Monday’s board meeting.

“We don’t really fear the coronavirus,” Maloy said. “We do feel well-prepared to care for our staff, our existing patients and those that might come in.”………

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