Our Services – During COVID-19

At St. Mary’s General Hospital we have redesigned our patient experience in order to protect and assure your safety. As New Jersey re-opens after the state-wide shutdown, St. Mary’s General is clean, open, and ready to provide the highest level of quality care to each one of our patients. Below please find answers to all your questions on our new process.

Is it now safe to have a test or procedure at St. Mary’s General Hospital?

Yes. St. Mary’s General Hospital continues its focus on patient safety as an award winning quality institution. Our teams continue to provide a safe environment, with an enhanced emphasis on infection control, for those patients entrusting us with their care. All patients will be required to undergo a pre-procedure screening process to reduce the risk of infection. Patients are encouraged to consult with their physician to address safety questions and the best timing for scheduling a specific procedure.

Should I postpone my test or procedure since it is not an emergency?

“Elective” does not mean “optional.” Do not delay your procedure if at all possible. Postponing elective endoscopy procedures has the potential to inflict significant harm on patients. Please make sure you discuss this important decision with your healthcare provider and loved ones.

How can I be sure my healthcare providers are not positive for COVID-19?

No one is allowed to enter the hospital without a mask and a temperature check. St. Mary’s General Hospital complies with the latest CDC guidelines for testing suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Any employee, nurse or doctor who seems to have a symptom, especially fever, is immediately sent home and their work area is totally disinfected.

Can I get infected from a COVID-19 patient at the hospital?

The risk of getting infected is extremely low. All COVID-19 patients are isolated in a separate area of the hospital and you will not come in contact with them during any part of your procedure. St. Mary’s General Hospital follows strict guidelines to prevent the infection from spreading from areas of the hospital where COVID-19 patients are being treated. In addition, endoscopy patients will recover in alternating bays to ensure more distance between them

How is the hospital cleaned to ensure my safety and the safety of others?

One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. Our Environmental Services team uses ultraviolet technology to kill surface spores and disinfects ALL equipment, reception and waiting areas, restrooms, chairs, door handles, elevator buttons, and other hard surfaces regularly throughout the day.

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

Yes. We regularly monitor staffing levels to ensure a safe environment. 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.

What is the Pre-Test or Pre-Procedure/Surgery Screening Process?

To maximize safety, the screening specifically tailored for each type of procedure. Usually, a patient’s physician is required to order the test which must occur 4 days before the date of the procedure. Patients testing negative will be required to self-isolate at home in the days prior to their procedure for extra safety. Upon return to the hospital for their procedure, patients will be screened and temperature assessed again before entering the building, and then they will also be re-tested for COVID-19. Patients testing positive will have their procedures rescheduled to a later date when they are no longer at risk for spreading the virus.

Do I need a mask during my visit to the hospital?

Yes. All patients and visitors are required to wear a mask. Individuals who pass through a hospital screening station will be provided a mask if they do not already have one available.

What questions will I be asked during the screening?

As part of our infection control COVID-19 screening process, we ask every patient if they have experienced any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough or Sore Throat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chills, Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Headache, and possibly others symptoms

Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure must 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.

What should I do if I have a fever or any symptoms of COVID-19 the day of my test or procedure?

If you should get a fever or any symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of your procedure, please contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.

Are visitors allowed during my procedure?

Yes but, in an abundance of caution, only one visitor may accompany the patient into the department. Two visitors will be allowed to sit in the waiting room. All visitors must pass through a hospital screening station where their temperature will be assessed before entering the hospital.

May I schedule a test or procedure for myself or a family member? If so, when?

Yes. Outpatient elective procedures resumed on May 26, 2020. For more information, patients are encouraged to contact their physicians’ offices.