Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
This page will be updated as new information comes out about COVID-19. Check back frequently for new information from trusted resources.
COVID-19 Patients & Testing Throughout Our System (Updated March 28, 2020)
Updated March 27, 2020
Based on the executive order issued by the Governor of the State of Mississippi, the visitation policies at all North Mississippi Medical Center hospitals will change effective immediately:
Children under age 17 not permitted.
Visitation is restricted for all patients, with further clarification for specific facilities, units and patient types below:
General Acute Care and Swing Bed Patients: No visitors, except two per day for an end-of-life situation. For an end-of-life situation, a patient may have two visitors per day, but these two visitors may not change throughout that day.
Critical Care Unit (CCU): Only one designated family member or caregiver per day per patient throughout the patient’s hospital stay in order to limit the number of total visitors. For an end-of-life situation, a patient may have two visitors per day, but these two visitors may not change throughout that day.
COVID-19 Suspected/Confirmed Patients: No visitors, except two per day for an end-of-life situation. For an end-of-life situation, a patient may have two visitors per day, but these two visitors may not change throughout that day.
Dementia/altered mental status: Only one designated family member or caregiver per patient throughout the hospital stay in order to limit the number of total visitors
Pediatric patients: Only one designated family member or caregiver per patient throughout the hospital stay in order to limit the number of total visitors
NMMC Women’s Hospital, NMMC Gilmore-Amory, NMMC-West Point: Only one designated family member or caregiver per maternity patient throughout the hospital stay in order to limit the number of total visitors
NMMC Women’s Hospital NICU, NMMC Gilmore-Amory NICU: For the protection of our babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visitation is currently restricted to mother and father or support person only
Outpatient surgical patients: Visitation is limited to one visitor (the patient’s designated driver) before and after surgery
We ask that visitors who meet these visitation guidelines refrain from visiting if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection:
- Temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher
- Shortness of breath
- Travel outside of Mississippi, Alabama or Tennessee in last 14 days
Visitors who do not follow personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines will be asked to leave the premises to protect the safety of our patients and staff.
Updated March 23, 2020
NMHS, City of Tupelo Partner on COVID-19 Updates
North Mississippi Health Services and the City of Tupelo are working together to raise the community’s awareness of COVID-19.
COVID-19 testing capabilities provided by the State of Mississippi have been available for a week now in northeast Mississippi. Capabilities provided by the state include “testing kits” for local providers to use in collecting and transporting specimens, which are then sent to the state lab or an outside lab for processing. The state or outside lab sends the results of each test to the site that collected the specimen or to the provider, as directed by the order. The total time from collection of the specimen to receipt of the results by the provider could be four days or more. Mississippi’s state lab has prioritized processing of tests for these individuals as follows:
1. Hospitalized patients
2. Exposed healthcare workers
3. Non-hospitalized patients
North Mississippi Health Services’ experience during the first week of testing is:
• 338 total collections sent to the State of Mississippi
• 141 of 338 are still pending results
• 17 tests were positive; 7 of those 17 positives are patients hospitalized within our healthcare system and 10 are quarantined at home
“We all should continue emphasizing the importance of precautions recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and support actions taken by our government officials to promote social distancing and avoiding group gatherings,” said Shane Spees, NMHS president and chief executive officer. “These precautions protect your family, neighbors and you. We know that prevention and containment are the best means currently available to limit the impact of COVID-19. Prevention and containment measures will not only limit the viral spread but will help ensure that needed healthcare services are not overwhelmed and remain available to all who need care, not just COVID-19 patients.”
“Our area is extremely fortunate to have one of the nation’s best medical centers right here in Tupelo. By working together and following the guidance of our medical team, we can do our part to flatten the curve,” said Mayor Jason Shelton, City of Tupelo.
Visit www.cdc.gov for www.nmhs.net/coronavirus for timely updates on COVID-19 (coronavirus). The CDC offers a symptom checker to help individuals determine their risk. The handy Coronavirus Self-Checker, located at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/index.html, suggests what steps to take based on information provided. NMHS is following CDC criteria for testing and treatment.
In addition to this offering from the CDC, area residents may call Nurse Link at 1-800-882-6274 for answers to questions about the coronavirus and NMHS locations. The free service, which is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, connects callers with information to address health care concerns.
Updated March 23, 2020
Individuals or industries who would like to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes to North Mississippi Health Services can drop off items at NMMC Wellness Centers in Tupelo and West Point.
Needed supplies include:
- N95 medical or industrial grade masks
- Nitrile or medical grade gloves
- Hand sanitizers
- Clorox wipes & other disinfectant wipes
- Non-regulatory masks, goggles & face shields
Donations will be accepted between 8-10 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday starting Tuesday, March 24.
The Wellness Centers are located at 1030 S. Madison St., Tupelo and 185 Medical Center Circle, West Point.
Community members have also inquired about what they can do to show appreciation for our caregivers. Individually packaged snack items would be a great idea for this and can also be dropped off at these Wellness Centers during these hours.
“We have already experienced tremendous community support in the form of gift cards for our frontline team members taking care of COVID-19 patients,” said NMMC-Tupelo President David Wilson. “We are blessed and honored that there remains a widespread effort to also support our caregivers with donations of personal protective equipment. Given the limited market supply, we will graciously accept these donations at our Wellness Center.”
“We are so humbled and appreciative for the outpouring of support we are receiving from our community and local businesses. We are all in this together battling this pandemic, and that is the beauty of living and working in our family-oriented community. Everyone is looking for ways to help,” said NMMC-West Point Administrator Barry Keel. “Thanks to everyone for their support. Please know that we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our patients are provided exceptional care throughout this process.”
For more information, call (662) 377-3131 in Tupelo or (662) 495-2141 in West Point.
CDC's Coronavirus Symptom Checker
CDC's Coronavirus Symptom Checker
Do you know your risk for the coronavirus? Visit the CDC's symptom checker to determine your risk. This handy tool suggests what steps you should take based on the information provided. North Mississippi Health Services is following CDC criteria for testing and treatment.
In addition to this offering from the CDC, we invite you to call Nurse Link at 1-800-882-6274 for answers to your questions about the coronavirus and our locations near you. The free service, provided by NMHS, is there for you 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Nurse Link connects you with the information you need to address your health care concerns. Our call center is available in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, and is supported by local providers as needed.
For timely updates on the coronavirus, visit the CDC web site and this page.
March 20, 2020 Update
Updated March 20, 2020
North Mississippi Health Services implemented restricted visitation policies and congregation of people at its hospitals on March 15.
Here are specific visitation restrictions that are now in place:
Hospice/End-of-Life (including Critical Care Unit): Limited to 2 visitors per patient
COVID-19 Suspected/Confirmed Patients: No visitors, except for end-of-life
All other acute care patients, including Critical Care Unit: 1 designated visitor per patient at a time
NMMC Women’s Hospital: Only one designated family member or caregiver is allowed per patient throughout their hospital stay in order to limit the number of visitors. Children under age 14 are not permitted to visit.
NMMC Women’s Hospital NICU: For the protection of our babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visitation is currently restricted to mother and father or support person only.
We are caring for patients who are suspicious of or have tested positive for COVID-19. To date, that is a small percentage of the total number of patients in the hospital. As you know and can appreciate, laws prevent us from sharing patient specific information. We are utilizing national guidelines to protect the safety of patients and the care team.
The NMMC-Tupelo Auxiliary Gift & Floral Shop will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customers may call (662) 377-4194 with pick-up orders only and gift shop staff will meet them at the door. Food items, sundries, flowers and gifts will be available.
The NMMC Women’s Hospital Gift Shop will close to the public Monday, March 23. Customers may call (662) 377-4939 between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday with orders for balloons, flowers and plush items to be delivered within Women’s Hospital (patient rooms or departments).
We appreciate your patience and flexibility during this time.
March 17, 2020 Update
A Message for Our Clinic Patients
We know that you may have a lot of concerns and questions about your health, and we are committed to keeping our community safe by introducing new safeguards and procedures. In alignment with our commitment, we want to update you on changes and current guidance:
There is nothing more important than your health for you and your family. That is North Mississippi Health Services' priority, too. For patients that are most vulnerable in our community or at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, we are working to proactively reach out and ensure these patients are cared for in the best possible way. This may include potentially rescheduling any non-essential visits. If you feel that it is not in your best interest to seek care for non-urgent visits at this time, please reach out to your provider’s office and reschedule your appointment. This information is specific to clinic visits. If you have questions about appointments, tests or procedures at any North Mississippi Medical Center hospitals, please contact them directly.
If you have symptoms like cough, fever or other respiratory problems, please contact your provider's office by phone or Nurse Link (1-800-882-6274) before coming to a clinic or hospital. Please do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.
Clinic Precautions of Note
- In an effort to limit unnecessary exposure, patients who have an appointment at a clinic may have one person accompany them, if necessary.
- We are doing our best to handle the volume of phone calls we have been receiving. Please bear with us as you may experience longer than usual phone wait times. We appreciate your patience. Your care and safety are always our top priorities. For your safety and to minimize the potential of virus exposure for our patients and staff, we are screening all patients via phone before scheduling any appointments.
- Out of an abundance of caution and given the COVID-19 community situation, the ability to self-schedule appointments in the patient portal (myConnection) is currently unavailable. Please know that all of the other great functionality available within myConnection will continue to be available. myConnection is an excellent resource for you and we encourage utilization of it. If you are an established patient and haven’t registered for our new patient portal, it’s easy. Visit www.myconnection.org.
We appreciate your understanding during these uncertain times. Our goal is to protect you, your loved ones and our team members. If you have any questions, please contact your care team.
March 16, 2020 Update
Message to Our Community
Earlier today the first positive test result for COVID-19 in our service area (Monroe County) was disclosed by the Mississippi Department of Health. Prior to that reporting, all previous COVID-19 tests on patients in north Mississippi were negative. Over the weekend we stepped up our precautionary measures (such as limiting visitation, restricting access points into our hospitals, screening staff and visitors upon entering our hospitals and screening/testing employees and medical staff who have returned from travel from an affected area and cohorting patients under watch into one physical area).
For your safety and the safety of others, we will continue these precautionary measures for an indefinite period of time and adjust those precautions as needed. We will assess the situation on a daily basis.
Prevention and containment are the best practices in limiting the spread of any virus, particularly this one. Each one of us plays a pivotal role in prevention and containment. Help our communities stay ahead of it by using previously recommended strategies (and share these with your family, friends and other neighbors):
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Thank others when you see them wash their hands.
- Avoid any gathering of people; keep a social distance when possible.
- Older individuals, those with chronic diseases and immunocompromised states are more susceptible and need to avoid any gathering of people or anyone who is sick.
These practices will help you take care of yourself and will help our team care for our community. We greatly appreciate the efforts of many (too many to name by person) who are working daily to provide a safe environment to care for our families, friends and neighbors. Stay in touch with us by visiting www.nmhs.net/coronavirus for COVID-19 updates.
March 15, 2020 Update
Updated March 15, 2020
New Hospital Visitation Policies Implemented
North Mississippi Health Services is restricting visitation and congregation of people at its hospitals. At 5 p.m. Sunday, March 15, the following visitation policy is in effect at all NMHS hospitals (listed below):
- As a precautionary measure, visitors are limited to one per patient at a time.
- Our strong preference is to have one designated family member or caregiver per patient during their hospital stay in order to limit the number of visitors hospital-wide.
- Children under age 14 should NOT visit.
To help protect our patients and staff, please refrain from visiting if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection:
- Temperature of 100 degrees F or higher
- Shortness of breath
As a precautionary measure, NMMC Wellness Centers are canceling all group exercise classes, personal training sessions, children’s gymnastics classes and child care until further notice.
Due to growing concerns regarding COVID-19, HealthWorks! will be closed until further notice. This includes canceling scheduled programs (Home School, Hip Hoppers and After School) for the week of March 16-20.
Please continue to follow HealthWorks! social media accounts for programming updates. We will also be sharing resources to keep your family healthy and active during this time.
March 14, 2020 Update
Updated March 14, 2020
NMHS Nursing Home Updates
North Mississippi Health Services nursing homes are implementing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ new guidelines.
Effective immediately, visitation is restricted for all visitors and non-essential groups and services with the exception of certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life. In such cases, visitors will be limited to specific rooms.
NMHS nursing homes are encouraging visiting by electronic means, such as FaceTime and Skype.
NMHS nursing homes include:
- Baldwyn Nursing Facility
- Marion Regional Nursing Home
- NMMC-Eupora Nursing Home
- NMMC-Pontotoc Nursing Home
Communication for North Mississippi Medical Clinics Patients
Dear Valued Patient:
Thank you for choosing us to be part of your healthcare team. Our desire is to serve our community by providing the best possible care and service. This includes our work in serving patients who are seriously ill and need care. If you have concerns about symptoms you are experiencing, please call Nurse Link at 1-800-882-6274 to speak with a member of our team, who can evaluate your situation and tell you what to do next. They might advise you to come to one of our clinics, provide assistance scheduling an appointment or give you advice about caring for yourself at home.
During this time, we are asking that patients not walk into our clinics and ask to be tested for COVID-19. Test availability is still limited and only available at specified collection locations at this time. We cannot test everyone who would like to be tested.
Our health system can only test individuals who meet current CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) clinical criteria for testing:
- Close contact with a confirmed, positive COVID-19 individual, or
- Travel from an affected area within the last 14 days and fever, shortness of breath and cough, or
- Severe symptoms with no known exposure to the virus, but only after other infections, such as influenza, have been ruled out.
We know this is a stressful time for many people in our community. Some are worried about their own health; others have concerns about distant friends or family members. Please support each other, and please support North Mississippi Health Services in its mission to continuously improve the health of the people of our region and to care for those who need us the most.
Your North Mississippi Health Services Care Team
About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC
Prevent Others from Getting Sick | CDC
March 13, 2020 Update
Updated March 13, 2020
North Mississippi Health Services is making preparations to begin restricting visitation and congregation of people at its hospitals.
North Mississippi Medical Clinics has implemented a testing center for patients identified at risk for COVID-19. The service is available by referral only and is not open to the public. The samples collected are sent to the Mississippi State Department of Health for testing. The center’s location is not being disclosed to protect patient privacy and prevent unnecessary exposure to potential COVID-19 patients.
March 2, 2020 Update
Updated March 2, 2020
North Mississippi Health Services is taking a proactive approach to educate staff and the public about COVID-19, a new strain of the coronavirus that is making international news.
“Our preparations include a multidisciplinary team, composed of physicians and other healthcare professionals, who are developing protocols and educational materials specific to COVID-19,” said Jeremy Blanchard, M.D., NMHS chief medical officer.
NMHS is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and is working closely with the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Alabama State Department of Health.
The first wave of preparations included educating emergency medicine staff at the North Mississippi Medical Centers in Tupelo, Amory, Eupora, Iuka, Pontotoc and West Point, Mississippi, and Hamilton, Alabama as well as North Mississippi Medical Clinics and North Mississippi Medical Center clinic locations throughout the hospital’s 24-county service area.
Individuals who call 911 seeking emergent medical treatment are encouraged to alert the dispatcher and responding crews of their travel history and symptoms if they fit the criteria for COVID-19.
Preparations also include procurement of medical supplies to treat this specific patient population. Employees will be instructed to use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriately to ensure an adequate supply will be available in the event COVID-19 spreads to the NMHS service area.
“Ideally, anyone who fits the screening criteria for COVID-19 would call the hospital or doctor’s office before they arrive to help prevent the spread of infection,” Dr. Blanchard said.
The CDC does offer guidelines on how individuals can protect themselves and others. There are currently no vaccines available to protect against COVID-19. The risk of infection may be reduced by doing the following:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- For information about hand washing, see CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives!
Individuals who have cold-like symptoms can help protect others by doing the following:
- Stay home while you are sick
- Avoid close contact with others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
What to Do if You are Sick with the Coronavirus.