Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

April 1, 2020 Update

Ensuring the safety of our patients and staff members is always our first priority. We have been preparing for COVID-19 in our community for several weeks, building upon the robust emergency operations plan we have in place year-round.  To protect our patients and staff members while treating patients for COVID-19 we have implemented the following precautionary measures:

  • To protect our community and all who need medical care, all our positive or suspected COVID-19 patients are isolated on a specialized unit that is disconnected from the remainder of our hospital. Negative-pressure air units are in place to ensure that the airflow from these areas of the hospital remains separate from our other patient, visitor and staff areas.
  • In response to the declaration of a national emergency due to COVID-19, we activated our Emergency Operations Plan on March 13, 2020 and have opened an Incident Command Center at STRHS-Winchester.  It is staffed Monday-Friday 7:00 AM-6:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM and can be reached at (931) 967-8208.
  • A COVID-19 Medical Staff Task Force has been assembled to handle clinical care pathways and ensure continuity of physician coverage during this crisis.
  • We have added additional security around the clock to ensure protection of our patients and staff.
  • We are taking extra precautions to keep all our non-COVID-19 areas clean. Nursing, physician and all additional staff for COVID-19 patient areas are ONLY working in COVID-19 patient areas and are not traveling to other areas of the hospital. 
  • We have reduced the entry point to only the emergency department entrance for all patients, physicians, visitors (if appropriate), and staff. 
  • The Anderton-Smith Building offices is accessible via the lower level entrance, however, people who come in at this entrance will not be able to access the hospital unless they enter through the Emergency Department.
  • The hospital has implemented a zero-visitor* protocol (*some exceptions may apply (e.g. pediatric patients, obstetric patients and those receiving end-of-life care).
  • The hospital, hospital outpatient departments, and physician practices/clinics are screening all individuals who enter our facilities, per CDC guidelines – including patients, physicians, visitors (if appropriate), vendors and staff – based on potential respiratory symptoms, travel history, and fever. 

Our hospital is 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.

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 Franklin County Health Department.

Quick Links:

COVID-19 Symptoms



Southern Tennessee Regional Health System-Winchester/Sewanee (STRHS) is continuing to work closely with Franklin County and Tennessee Health Departments and following guidance from 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 not evaluated OR treated any patients with this virus at our hospital to date, STRHS 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.

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 Franklin County Health Department or Tennessee Department of Health or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.


COVID-19 Facility Visitor Guidelines:

We have implemented visitor restrictions at our facility as follows:

Hospital: To protect the health and wellness of our patients, providers, employees and all those who enter STRHS-Winchester, we are implementing updated visitor guidelines for our facilities, effective immediately and until further notice.  We want to assure our community that these changes are being made proactively out of an abundance of caution and to empower us to prevent the spread of illness:

  • We are reducing the entry point to only the emergency department entrance for all patients, visitors (if appropriate), and staff. 

  • The Anderton-Smith Building offices will be accessible via the lower level entrance, however, people who come in at this entrance will not be able to access the hospital unless they enter through the Emergency Department

  • The hospital has implemented a zero-visitor* protocol immediately (*some exceptions may apply (e.g. pediatric patients, obstetric patients and those receiving end-of-life care)

  • The hospital, hospital outpatient departments, and physician practices/clinics will begin screening all individuals who enter our facilities, per CDC guidelines – including patients, visitors (if appropriate) and staff – based on potential respiratory symptoms, travel history, and fever. 

Skilled Nursing Facility:  Southern Tennessee's Skilled Nursing Facility, effective 6:00 PM on March 13, 2020, has elected to restrict all visitation at this time.  Exceptions (only after screening has taken place) will include family of residents at the end of life, Hospice caregivers, Home Health Care agencies and private duty caregivers.  For more information feel free to contact 931-967-8249.

Senior Advantage Center:  Southern Tennessee's Senior Advantage Program, effective 6:00 PM on March 13, 2020, has elected to restrict all visitation at this time.  Exceptions (only after screening has taken place) will include family of residents at the end of life, Hospice caregivers, Home Health Care agencies and private duty caregivers.  For more information feel free to contact 931-967-8395.


Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

How to use hand sanitizer

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

Learn more at www.cdc.gov/handwashing