Berkshire Health Systems Releases New Visitation Policy

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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Health Systems has changed its visitation policies as the number of COVID-19 cases in the community are rising. 
 
The changes are effective starting on Monday, Nov. 16, and include:
 
• All patients and visitors must be screened for COVID symptoms upon entering a BHS facility.
 
• No visitation for visitors experiencing symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, body      aches, loss of sense taste, or smell).
 
• Inpatient visitors/companions must sign in, show identification and be issued a visitor badge.
 
• Approved visitors must always wear a mask and perform hand hygiene before and after entering a patient's room.
 
• Birth partners, parents of children under 18, attorneys, PCAs, companions or designated support person of patients        with intellectual and/or physical disabilities are not considered visitors. They must be screened for symptoms and wear    a mask but may stay with the patient 24/7. They should have access to food and restrooms.
 
• No visitation for patients suspected of or testing positive for COVID - 19.
 
• Critical Care: One visitor at a time for 15 minutes between the hours of 4 pm to 7 pm (7 days a week).
 
• Emergency Department: One companion at a time.
 
• Medical/Surgical, Family Birthing, Rehab and Pediatric Units: One visitor at a time for 30 minutes each between the        hours of 2 pm to 7 pm (7 days a week).
 
• Behavioral Health Units: No visitation. Tele-visits can be arranged with provider approval.
 
• No visitors under the age of 18 except the child of a patient and the siblings of a patient.
 
• End-of-Life Circumstances: Number of visitors based on approval by the House Supervisor.
 
• Surgical Day/Endoscopy/Crane Center: A companion can accompany a patient to the department, leave and return to    pick them up and receive post-procedural teaching.
 
• Ambulatory or outpatient services, one companion/designated support person may accompany the patient to an in-        person provider, therapy, or diagnostic test visit.
 
• Patient Experience Department and Nursing can help with an alternate electronic means of communication for                individuals who are unable to visit in person.
 
The visitation guidelines will be updated as needed, depending on the current status of COVID-19 transmission in the community.

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Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19 at ServiceNet Shelter

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 at ServiceNet's winter homeless shelter in the former St. Joseph High School.

On Monday morning, ServiceNet became aware that the shelter employee produced a positive test.

The employee was asymptomatic and had not been to work since Wednesday of last week, Senior Vice President of Shelter & Housing Jay Sacchetti said.

ServiceNet has an emergency protocol that occurs in the case that a visitor or employee tests positive for the virus in any of their group homes or shelters.  

The shelter did not shut down for the night, but went into quarantine and will test all employees and guests Wednesday. Since learning of the positive case, the shelter has been open 24/7, while it is normally only open around the clock on weekends and holidays.

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