Published on May 24, 2020

Keeping You Safe: Emergency Department Precautions in Response to COVID-19


One of the most concerning impacts of COVID-19 is data that shows emergency departments across the nation are experiencing a sharp decline in visits for major medical emergencies such as stroke, sepsis and chest pain. It is thought that people are avoiding hospitals, even when they need emergency care, out of fear of contracting COVID-19.

This is especially concerning to Dr. Chris Brock, medical director of the Nash UNC Emergency Department and Dr. Crystal Hayden, Chief Operating Officer / Chief Nursing Officer for Nash UNC, who want the public to know that it is safe to seek medical care at Nash UNC, despite the COVID-19 situation.

“Nash UNC Health Care, like many other hospitals, have taken major precautions to prevent the spread of the virus among patients, staff and the community,” said Brock.

Dr. Hayden detailed the precautions put in place, including screening and separating patients at the door, to reduce exposure of COVID-19.

“We screen all patients and visitors at the front door, immediately upon arrival. Patients with respiratory or COVID-like symptoms are immediately taken through a separate area, and placed in rooms that are isolated from others and specially designed to treat communicable disease.  All other patients are directed into the normal lobby, to be registered and evaluated, then placed in their appropriate treatment areas – all of this in a completely separate area from where the patients with COVID symptoms are located,” said Hayden.

In addition to the screening process, waiting areas are encouraging social distancing, proper hand hygiene and the wearing of masks. To help ensure social distancing, visitors are discouraged from accompanying patients. No visitors are allowed in the respiratory / COVID cohort unit of the Emergency Department for their protection.

“Our staff also uses personal protective equipment throughout the entire care process to protect patients and themselves. Patient rooms and all areas of the Emergency Department and hospital are continuously cleaned,” Hayden added. “Emergency Medicine is all about providing the best medical care in the safest way possible.”

Dr. Hayden, Dr. Brock and their teams are working hard to provide just that – exceptional care in a safe environment. With the proper precautions in place to reduce exposure to COVID-19, they stress that the public should not hesitate to seek medical care when needed.

“In the emergency department, we are still taking care of emergencies such as chest pain, appendicitis, stroke, trauma, and others, all while taking care of COVID-19 patients separately,” Brock stated. “We just want the public to know that we are taking every precaution to keep them safe if they have to visit us for any emergency medical needs.  Our main goal is to keep our community safe and healthy.” 

News Media Contact

Kenyon "K.J." Askew, Jr., Public Relations and Marketing Specialist, at 252-962-8766 or by email.

If calling after hours, please dial the main hospital line at 252-962-8000 and ask to speak with the nursing supervisor on duty and identify yourself as a member of the news media. He or she will be able to assist you.

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