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ROCHELLE – Rochelle Community Hospital has been gearing up to handle patients with the coronavirus.

Many clinical employees at Rochelle Community Hospital, which serves Ogle County, are cross trained to shift to other areas as needed.

All employees, regardless of duty, receive emergency preparedness training.

All of its entrances have reduced access, limited to patients requiring outpatient testing, acute care visits to convenient care, infusing services and the emergency room.

The hospital on Tuesday was equipped with a shelter and light tower with portable heat, electric and lighting on site to aid in coronavirus cases. They were supplied by the mutual aid box alarm system division No. 29 of Carroll County, Rochelle Fire Department and Ogle County Sheriff’s Department.

No inpatient visitors are allowed with the exception of a parent of a patient who is a minor, patients who are in hospice care, or a patient’s medical power of attorney. All visitors must be symptom free and have no fever.

Patients who want to schedule nonessential visits to Rochelle’s Family Healthcare Clinic or Multi-Specialty Clinic should contact the clinic first.

“People have been very understanding of these shifts in policy, and things seem to be going as well as can be expected,” marketing coordinator Janet Stewart said.

Rochelle started a triage line specifically for coronavirus. Patients receive screening over the phone, and possibly followed by influenza and COVID-19 testing.

Gov J.B. Pritzker asked recently retired health care professionals, including nurses, doctors and specialists, to rejoin the medical field to help handle the large number of expected cases.

The hospital has been contacted by at least one nurse, and its human resources department is exploring the possibility of adding extra clinical staff if the need arises.

“We’re in an emergency position and trust these decisions were made to assist all in need,” Stewart said.

The hospital isn’t seeking any extra volunteers right now, but if a need does arise, Stewart knows that there will be people willing to step up.

“After the 2015 tornado here in Rochelle, we know our community members are here to support us and help in any way possible,” Stewart said. “All we have to do is ask.”

Rochelle is seeking protective equipment such as face masks. It received a large donation Tuesday from the Kishwaukee College nursing department, whose nursing rotations at the hospital are temporarily suspended.

The hospital has a couple of local residents on standby ready to sew masks for donation if supplies are depleted.

More information

Rochelle Community Hospital has set up a triage line for coronavirus inquiries at 815-561-8829.

For more information, find Rochelle Community Hospital on Facebook, go to rochellehospital.com or call 815-562-2181.

For more local news, visit SaukValley.com at https://www.saukvalley.com.

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