Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Our hospital and our practices are committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers, and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

COVID-19 Resources

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, please contact the health department.

Quick Links:


COVID VACCINE REGISTRATION PROCESS  (added by Marty Bowser 1/20/21) 

Rutherford Regional has received a number of questions from our patients about when the COVID-19 vaccine may be available to them. While we are thrilled with the outpouring of interest from our community members in getting vaccinated, it is important to keep in mind that we are following a very specific process that will take time to roll out more broadly.

At this time, we are focusing on administering COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government, and North Carolina – this includes vaccinating our own healthcare workers and individuals ages 65+ We are carefully following the protocols in place and will continue to work closely with Rutherford County Health Department. To complete the first step of registering for your COVID-19 vaccine please visit www.RutherfordCOVID.com and complete the provided form.

COVID-19 Vaccination Registration

Common Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines:

We know there are a lot of questions about the emerging COVID-19 vaccines. Our goal is to keep you informed as vaccines are approved and rolled out for our workforce, patients, and community in the weeks ahead.

We have created a list of common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines based on current knowledge and understanding. These questions will continue to evolve with time, so we encourage you to check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.

  1. Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? When will it be available to the general public?

We are in the process of distributing the vaccine in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government, and our state health departments. Vaccine administration has begun with our frontline healthcare workers. As soon as the vaccine becomes more broadly available, we strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated.

  1. The vaccine was produced very quickly. How do I know it is safe?

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is the top priority while federal partners work to make the COVID-19 vaccines. Despite what the name may suggest, “Operation Warp Speed” does not mean that manufacturers were able to skip steps or cut corners in the vaccine development process. Instead, after the development of the vaccine, manufacturers took a secured risk and overlapped the study, manufacturing, and distribution phases. The FDA committed to giving these vaccinations priority (not rushed) review at all phases of the studies, which helped speed up the overall process. Ongoing monitoring of vaccine effectiveness and side effect reports will continue to be evaluated by the FDA and the manufacturers.

  1. If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, should I still wear a mask?

Yes. For several reasons, a mask and other proven methods of preventing COVID-19 (hand hygiene and social distancing) are still important even after receiving the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. 

4. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?

Yes. At this time, the vaccine is recommended even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people who have had COVID-19 greater than 90 days ago should proceed with getting the vaccine. Due to limited vaccine supply, if you have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, your likelihood of reinfection is low enough during this time period that you can wait to get the vaccine until you hit the 90-day mark after being sick.

5. Can you contract COVID-19 by getting the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is NOT a live vaccine, and it is NOT possible to contract COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Some people experience side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, muscle pain, or fever – but that does not mean you have COVID-19.  It means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus, which is a good thing. 

6. What are the possible side effects/adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccine? 

The most common adverse reactions reported have been fatigue, headache, fever/chills, and joint pain. This means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus.

You can read more in Pfizer’s FDA Briefing Document about the side effects reported among the vaccine study participants

7. Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to children?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not indicated for children younger than 16 years old at this time.

8. Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to pregnant women?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals. It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available have not been tested in pregnant women, so there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy. Pregnant women should make an informed decision after discussing with their healthcare provider.

9. How many doses are required? If multiple, when do I get another dose?

For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, two doses are required. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose. It is very important to note that the second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose. 

10. What should I do if I am unable to get the second dose exactly 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose?

While it is recommended that you receive the second dose as soon as feasible after day 21 or day 28, we understand that it might not be possible to receive it on the desired date. This could be due to multiple reasons. Please keep the following in mind if you cannot receive the second vaccine dose on the desired date:

  1. You must receive the second dose from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
  2. Get the second dose as soon as possible after the desired date has passed, as it is better to get the second dose late than not at all. You will still experience the same efficacy in the long run, although you may not see the full effect of the immunity until a few weeks after the second dose.

      11. How long after receiving both doses of the vaccine until it is considered effective?

      Similar to the flu vaccine, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected          with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide                  protection. As a general rule, the vaccine is considered effective about two weeks after the second dose, according to the manufacturers. There is evidence        that the first dose will begin providing some immunity, but it is still very important to receive the second dose for optimal results. 

     12. Can I choose which vaccine I get (Pfizer or Moderna)?


      We do not recommend waiting for a specific manufacturer. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar efficacy and potential side effects and have shown decreased disease severity in the small numbers of study participants who contracted COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Both manufacturers require two doses. It is important to remember that the second dose you receive must be from the same manufacturer. The early defense is better than no defense against COVID-19.


COVID-19 Visitation Guidelines

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutherford Regional has put temporary restrictions and guidance for patient visitors in place while in our facility. To ensure we are all doing our part to control the spread of COVID-19, please use the following restrictions and guidance until further notice to help safeguard our patients, visitors, staff, and community.

  • Visiting hours are 7 am – 9 pm. Overnight visitors must be pre-approved by our Nursing Administrators.
  • Only one person may visit per day in hospital locations (including rooms and care units). This visitor can leave and come back but may not be replaced by an alternate visitor.
  • A different well visitor may come the next day.
  • Visitors must be at least 18 years old
  • The visitor must always wear a mask covering their nose and mouth.                                                                       
  • Visitors are expected to bring their own face masks. If they do not have one, a non-procedural face mask will be provided.
  • All approved visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and will not be permitted to visit if they have symptoms.
  • All approved visitors must check-in at the front desk and wear a face mask throughout the duration of their visit.
  • All visitors must follow all social distancing and safety guidance. This includes wearing masks, staying six feet from others, and hand washing
  • Approved visitors are to stay with the patient. They are not permitted to be in —the chapel, cafeteria, or vending areas.
  • Family members or friends of patients will not be permitted to enter the facility or to wait in lobbies or common areas, including any/all areas of the hospital—lobbies, waiting areas, common spaces, chapel, cafeteria, or vending areas.
  • If you have a need resulting in you having to leave the care area please let the attending medical professional know. We are more than happy to help you.  
     
  • There are extended visitor hours for:​
    • Pediatric patients (children under 18) are allowed 2 parents/guardians any time of day
    • Surgery patients who have an early morning procedure can have 1 visitor with them.
    • Maternity patients are allowed 1 visitor any time of day
    • Emergency Departments patients are allowed 1 visitor any time of day

  • Patients with the following conditions may be allowed more than 1 visitor. This is decided by the treating physician and facility leaders.  
    • If the patient is at the end of life
    • If a patient has communication barriers
    • If a caregiver needs to help with decision making
  • Special circumstances will be managed by the treating physician and facility leaders.

If you have any questions regarding any visitation guidelines, please feel free to speak with the attending medical professionals in your designated care area or contact us at 828.286.5000.


Additional Resources:

Media Statement 

Rutherford Regional Health System is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers, and visitors. We are continuing to work closely with Rutherford County Health Department and following guidance from the NC Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure our hospital is prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19). Additionally, we are reviewing our facility’s robust emergency operations plan and proactively completing a number of preparation checklists out of an abundance of caution.

While we have currently not treated any patients with this virus at our hospital to date, Rutherford Regional Health System has taken the following measures to prepare, in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  •  Patients in the Emergency Department and inpatient units are screened based on their recent travel history.
  •  Personal protective equipment is available, including face masks and eye protection, for example.
  •  Hand hygiene products are easily accessible throughout the facility.
  •  Our Infection Prevention Department follows all communication from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, the Association for Professions in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that our facility stays abreast of the latest information regarding this virus.

Importantly, all of the above are standard operating protocols that are in place year-round to help ensure the health and well-being of everyone who enters our hospital.

We want to assure our community that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of viruses and infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. For more information, contact Rutherford County Health Department or visit the NCDHHS website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

For all media inquiries please contact Marty Bowser, Marketing & Communications at 828.286.5068 or Marty.Bowser@RutherfordRegional.com 

Recommended Precautions

Clean hands are a great frontline defense against the spread of germs and serious infections. Proper hand hygiene in a healthcare setting should be top of mind for both patients and those visiting their rooms. You should wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

In addition to practicing proper hand hygiene, other precautions that should be taken consist of:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using 

COVID-19 Facility Visitor Guidelines