As the coronavirus spreads into the local community, Sweetwater Hospital Association has announced changes to its operations.

The changes were announced in a news release on Monday.

Sweetwater Hospital Association will be limiting access to buildings as follows:

• Emergency room patients: Main entrance — 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Emergency room entrance — 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

• Lab, X-ray, outpatient surgery and visitors: Main entrance — 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Emergency room entrance — 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

• Physician visits: Professional office building entrance — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Dr. Kozawa’s visits: Basement entrance — Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 7:30-11 a.m.

Visitor restrictions include: No one with any illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath or pre-existing conditions etc.) should visit; Only one screened visitor permitted per patient unless it is vital to the patient’s care (i.e. parent, guardian, end-of-life care, etc.); visitation to patients with suspected or confirmed novel coronavirus will be limited, only visitors that are essential to the patient’s well-being will be allowed to visit, other visitors will not be allowed; no person under the age of 18 will be allowed in the building, unless they have a scheduled doctor’s appointment or need to be seen in the emergency room.

Each person entering the building will be screened prior to moving past the entrance.

If a person has a fever, he/she will be asked a series of questions in relation to COVID-19. If the person is positive for the screening, arrangements to be seen by a healthcare provider can be made as needed.

Coronavirus symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure include fever (100.4 or greater; adults over the age of 60 years of age 99.5); cough; and shortness of breath.

Sweetwater Hospital Association will continue working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) and the local public health department to prepare and care for COVID-19 patients.

“We urge all citizens within the community to follow the presidential guidelines set forth by the White House,” the release stated. “For information on these guidelines, please visit

People who suspect they have COVID-19 are advised to call their healthcare provider. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from being infected or exposed.

“Our physicians are quickly learning how to utilize Telehealth (telecommunication technologies- i.e. FaceTime) and will be providing healthcare visits via those services,” the release continued. “If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, call our appointment line, 865-213-8590, and we will assist you. If an emergency presents, our emergency room is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”

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