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Entry Screening Starts on Bern Campus

Similar Process Being Developed for Other St. Joseph Locations


March 16, 2020

Penn State Health St. Joseph has opened an outdoor screening area, under a tent outside the Emergency Department, for all people entering the Bern Township campus. Staff will conduct screenings in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Berks County has had no diagnosed cases of COVID-19 to date. However, St. Joseph continues to develop and execute plans for the evolving pandemic with the primary goal of ensuring the hospital’s people, processes and supplies are properly placed and working effectively. By providing care in a tented environment, Emergency Department staff will be in the best setting to proactively control the spread risk should a patient present with the symptoms that have been associated with COVID-19. These same symptoms are also associated with the flu, which remains highly active.

Patients not displaying COVID-19 symptoms but who have other health issues for which they are seeking care will be directed to the triage area of the Emergency Department. St. Joseph will partition anyone who does present with COVID-19 symptoms in another area where staff will follow all appropriate protocols for screening and testing.

The front lobby to the Bern campus, which has served as the hospital’s main public entrance, will remain closed. Until further notice, public entry to the Bern campus will be through the Emergency walk-in entrance.

The blanket hospital entry restrictions put in place over the weekend remain in place.

For the Downtown Campus and off-site locations, building entry is limited to no one under the age of 18, unless a patient; adult patients may be accompanied by one adult, and pediatric patients may be accompanied by two adults.

St. Joseph is also developing a similar screening process for its locations beyond the Bern campus.