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Sampson Regional Prepares for Coronavirus

March 11, 2020

Hospital leaders have worked rapidly during the last three weeks to prepare Sampson Regional in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak.  Among the many precautionary measures, the hospital has expanded its visitation restriction, previously put in place for flu season, and will begin screening all visitors, effective Monday, March 16, 2020. 

Temporarily, the only visitor entrance into the hospital will be through the Emergency Room & Outpatient Entrance, accessed by Cooper Drive.  The entrance on Beaman Street will be closed to the public.  Visitors can expect to be screened before gaining access to any area of the hospital.

As of Thursday, March 11, 2020, hospital leaders do not report any confirmed cases of COVID-19; however, the visitor restrictions and screening process are additional steps in protecting the hospital’s patients and healthcare workers.  “While we have not seen COVID-19 in our community, we take the threat very seriously, as there are more and more cases reported in our state daily,” said Dr. Shawn Howerton, CEO & CMO for Sampson Regional Medical Center.  “We cannot prevent the coronavirus from coming into our community, but we will do our part to support the public health system in slowing the spread of this virus.  And, we will act responsibly to protect our patients and staff,” he added.      

Visitor restrictions include:

  • No children younger than 18
  • No person with a fever (determined at visitor screening)
  • No person displaying symptoms of respiratory illness (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath), or other contagious illness. 
  • No person who has traveled internationally within the last 14 days
  • No person who has been in close contact with an individual who has COVID-19

“Even healthy people can spread germs,” offered Wanda Holden, RN, Infection Control Coordinator for Sampson Regional Medical Center.  Holden reminds visitors how important it is to clean hands frequently, especially after touching high contact surfaces, after using the restroom, and before eating. “It’s always a healthy habit to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to reduce the spread of germs,” she explained.

The hospital continues to monitor COVID-19 daily.  “This is an evolving situation, and we continue adjusting and responding based on new information,” stated Dr. Howerton.  He and his team members are working collaboratively with local agencies related to public health and the physician community to ensure the hospital continues providing safe and quality care amidst the coronavirus.  Other precautionary steps include sizing up supplies, equipment, and medications and implementing a temporary travel policy for staff.

Anyone with additional questions regarding COVID-19 can follow Sampson Regional online at or on social media