Editor's note: This story has been updated to add Baylor Scott and White information.
Killeen-area hospitals have begun screening patients and visitors to the hospitals for the novel coronavirus.
According to a Facebook post, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center will begin screening individuals at clinic entry points this week. There will be signs posted to direct hospital visitors to screening entry points.
"I want to encourage you to take an active role in helping stop the spread of COVID-19," Darnall commander Col. Richard G. Malish said in the post. "I need you to do just three things: 1) Isolate yourself when sick, 2) use the phone and email to access healthcare, and 3) practice social distancing at all times."
AdventHealth hospital actually began coronavirus screenings Friday, according to spokeswoman Erin Riley.
"We have three access points at the hospital where people will be screened," Riley said. "You have to go through a screening process in order to enter the hospital."
The screening process entails questions about recent travel and any current symptoms, among others. Riley said if a hospital visitor is flagged as requiring further examination, they will be directed to a newly-implemented RIPS (Respiratory Infection Protocol Station) area where they will receive further directions.
Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights has also begun screening patients and guests to the hospital. According to hospital spokeswoman Lucy Taylor, the hospital has limited the number of hospital entrances so staff can screen every person entering the facility.
"We are also screening employees who have symptoms, have traveled by sea or air, or who have household members who have recently traveled internationally or domestically by sea or air," Taylor said.
Both Darnall and AdventHealth are cautioning people from visiting the hospital unless absolutely necessary. For example, if a family member is in the hospital for a routine medical check up or procedure, people are urged to avoid visiting them in the hospital to limit exposure to various illnesses.
Seton is going one step further by limiting visitors to only one per patient, and only if their presence is absolutely necessary. Seton is also prohibiting children under the age of 16 to limit their exposure to illnesses.
Baylor Scott and White has this notice posted on its website:
“Beginning Monday, March 16, at 8 am, visitors and patients will use designated entrances and be screened upon arrival,” it said.
“Visitors will undergo a short screening at the designated entry points. This screening is based on CDC guidelines for identifying respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Patients will continue to be screened at registration.”
Baylor Scott and White also has visitor rules.
“We are also limiting visitors to the following:
Two visitors per patient during visiting hours
We have temporarily suspended entry of those under the age of 16
Waiting rooms will be closed to large groups”