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Harlan ARH employee tests positive for COVID-19, releases statement and addresses rumors

From The Harlan Enterprise -

Locals who recently visited the emergency room at Harlan ARH may receive a call from the Harlan County Health Department soon as an E.R. doctor has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

In a release from the hospital, officials said the individual who tested positive is currently self-isolating at home as recommended by the CDC.

“At ARH, our first priority is ensuring the safety of our patients and our team of caregivers,” the release read.

Representatives at Harlan ARH said hospital faculty and staff have followed guidance from the CDC since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and have “implemented rigorous infectious disease protocols, which always include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by caregivers and enhanced cleaning.”

If you were potentially exposed to the virus as a result of a recent visit to the Harlan ARH emergency room, health officials from the Harlan County Health Department will reach out to you directly as part of their contact tracing process. For questions or concerns, contact the Health Department at 606-573-4820.

Harlan ARH is encouraging its patients to not delay care if they are experiencing a medical emergency. The hospital said it’s doors remain open for those to seek and receive the attention they need.

Despite recent rumors developing throughout social media regarding the employees positive test and the time frame to announce the new case, ARH officials said the hospital chain is “dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all people in Central Appalachia.”

“Because of our strong commitment to our communities, we want to assure you that our hospital system has the appropriate equipment needed for our patients as well as the highly skilled staff who are taking excellent care of all our patients,” officials said.

Officials said they made a promise to their clients to be “transparent” regarding all COVID-19 related information and asked other who wish to seek accurate details to visit their website at or find them on Facebook.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) also announces there will be no regulation visitation at any of its hospitals in the wake of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

As of July 31, the only visitation exceptions that will be made will be:

— Patients at the end of life: Two people allows to visit.

— Pediatric patients (17 and younger): One responsible adult will be allowed to accompany.

— Maternity patients: One designated support person for labor, delivery and duration of the mother’s hospital stay. The one designated support person is deemed the support person throughout the mother’s stay.

“The health and safety of our patients and healthcare teams are our top priority as we move through this pandemic,” said Maria Braman, MD, ARH Chief Medical Officer. “We must take these measures in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our communities.”

Family and friends of ARH patients are encouraged to use FaceTime, Skype and phone calls to visit with loved ones who are in the hospital.

“We are asking our communities to partner with us to keep each other safe,” said Dr. Braman. “You can do your part by following CDC guidelines: keep a safe physical distance of six feet or more, wear a mask when around others and wash your hands regularly.”

For more information regarding visitations and other ARH services, visit

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