Coronavirus COVID-19: information and action points

Protect yourself and protect each other: Rules

All necessary precautions are taken to ensure that our hospital remains a safe place for our patients.

Hospitals receive very concrete guidelines from government and the Sciensano scientific research institute. We follow these guidelines closely.

You will find the general rules below. Together, we will ensure a safe hospital environment. Scroll down further for specific guidelines for patients and visitors.

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Everybody entering the hospital must wear a mask

In addition to the government guidelines, we ask that everybody in our hospital wears a mask that covers the nose and mouth and that meets the standards set by our hospital, everywhere on site and at all times. The aim of this is to guarantee maximum safety levels in our hospital and for our patients.

Wear your own mask when visiting the hospital for a consultation or when visiting a patient. Attention: fabric masks, masks with a valve, masks that are soiled or wet or are of dubious quality are still prohibited.

Use your mask in the correct manner:

  1. Thoroughly clean your hands before putting on your mask.
  2. Ensure your nose and mouth are fully covered. Make sure that the mask fits snugly onto your face.
  3. Never touch the mask while wearing it. If you do, clean your hands immediately.
  4. Replace the mask with a new one if it is wet or visibly soiled. Do not wear the same mask for more than eight hours.
  5. Remove the mask only by holding it by the elastic loops (never at the front) and immediately throw it into a closable bin.
  6. Thoroughly clean your hands after removing the mask.

Patients who are admitted to hospital will be given a mask for use in their room.

Your temperature is taken at the entrance of the hospital

If your temperature is high, a physician will be contacted.

Keeping your own gloves on while in the hospital is not permitted

Gloves give one a false sense of security: Correct hand hygiene is much more effective. We therefore ask you to remove gloves when entering the hospital and to clean your hands. It is not permitted to put gloves on again while you are inside the hospital.

Practice proper hand hygiene

Regularly wash your hands with water and soap or with a hand sanitiser gel. Always do so when arriving at and leaving our hospital. Do not touch your face.

Social distancing: Make sure you maintain enough distance to other people

We ask that everybody keeps the required distance.

Patients: new measures

(Click on the titles in blue for more details)

Consultations: appointments and support

Our hospital has put all necessary precautionary measures in place to guarantee safe care and counts on all patients to respect the measures outlined above.

Be on time: register ten minutes before your appointment.

A patient cannot take any person with him or her, unless strictly necessary (e.g. for emotional and physical reasons). This rule also applies to emergency cases (unless COVID-19 is suspected).

Exceptions:

  • Paediatrics: one of the parents may come along to the consultation. For newborns (less than 3 months old) both parents may come
  • Gynaecology/Maternity Unit: for the time being, partners/accompanying persons may only attend the 20-week ultrasound with you. We ask that pregnant women attend all other consultations on their own. In very specific cases, the gynaecologist may make an exception to this rule.

Do not come to the hospital, but contact (the secretariat of) your physician by telephone first:

  • if you are feeling unwell;
  • if you are in quarantine;

Operations: appointments and support

Our hospital has put all necessary precautionary measures in place to guarantee safe care and counts on all patients to respect these measures. If your procedure cannot take place, you will be called by the hospital at least three working days before the procedure. So, there is no need to contact the hospital yourself. Do you have any questions or concerns? Please contact (the secretariat of) your physician.

Will somebody accompany you?

  • Geriatric/oncological/cardiological day hospital: no accompanying person allowed, unless strictly necessary (e.g. physical or emotional).
  • Short stay / Surgical Day Hospital: The accompanying person may come with the patient to the entrance hall / rotating door. If strictly necessary (e.g. physically or emotionally), the companion can go right up to the lounge. Visits are allowed after the surgery (see visits rules).
  • Admissions for two or more nights: no accompanying person allowed, unless strictly necessary (e.g. physical or emotional). Subsequent visits are allowed (see visits rules).

Do not come to the hospital, but contact (the secretariat of) your physician by telephone first:

  • if you are feeling unwell;
  • if you are in quarantine;

Do you need urgent medical care? Contact our emergency service.

Visitors: new measures

General regulation: from 23 December, patients may receive up to 1 fixed visitor (that is, the same person throughout the stay) once a day under strict conditions. Exceptions to the visiting rules can be found below.

(Click on the titles in blue for more details)

Strict conditions

  • The visitor is from the social bubble (lives under the same roof and is a close contact of the patient’s).
  • Children also count as visitors.
  • Do not visit: if you are feeling unwell or if you are in quarantine.
  • Keep your visit brief and remain in the room.
  • Always wear a mask covering your nose and mouth. Do so at all times and everywhere in the hospital, including in the patient’s room. Do you not have a mask? You will be given one when entering the hospital. The patient who receives visitors will also always be wearing a mask.
  • Always keep adequate distance (more than 1.5 metres) and avoid direct contact with the patient.
  • Wash your hands before and after the visit with water and soap or with a hand sanitiser gel. Keep touching objects in the room to a minimum.

Exceptions to visiting rules

  1. Maternity: only the family of the mother giving birth (partner and children) can visit. They are welcome together.
  2. Neonatal Unit: parents only
  3. Paediatrics: only the patient's parents and siblings
  4. Immediate kin of patients in a critical or end-of-life phase: maximum of three persons at any time
  5. No visitors for COVID-19 patients unless critically ill
  6. No visitors at the Oncology Day Hospital

FAQ

Practical information

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Is the restaurant open to visitors?

The restaurant will be closed to visitors starting Monday 19/10.

When can I drop off or collect laundry for an admitted patient?

For COVID wards and wards where no visitors are allowed, one person can bring and collect laundry from the ward. Ring the bell and one of our employees will assist you.

  • Do not wash clothing and linen together with the clothing and linen of others
  • Do not shake up the laundry when putting it in the washing machine
  • Use a full washing cycle at a minimum temperature of 60°
  • Wash your hands after touching the dirty laundry
  • Use a dryer (if possible)
  • Dispose of the dirty laundry plastic bags

When can I pick up a person when they return home from a stay in hospital?

Patients may be picked up from the ward.

Medical information

(Click on the titles in blue for more details)

What are the typical symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms range from mild to severe respiratory conditions with fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. Elderly people and people with existing chronic conditions appear to be more likely to have serious symptoms.

Where and when can I get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms (see list above) can get a test.

On weekdays:

If you have symptoms, stay at home (even if they are not severe) and get in touch with your general practitioner. If your GP thinks you may have COVID-19, she or he will carry out a test or refer you to a triage centre in the neighbourhood. The test will be taken to the responsible laboratory on the same day. You should then stay at home in quarantine and wait for the test results.

At the weekend or on public holidays:

Call the special number 1733. You will be connected to the nearest monitoring unit on the basis of your postcode. People with symptoms will be assessed by telephone and given an appointment in a monitoring unit or triage centre.

Things to think about

  • People who have come into contact with infected patients but have no symptoms must go into quarantine and contact their GP on the next working day.
  • People wishing to take a test so that they can go on a journey can only do this at their GP’s surgery. Also, people wishing to take a test on returning from a journey should contact their GP.
  • The monitoring units cannot pass on advice or test results to patients. Contact your own GP or consult the Cozo website.
  • You cannot enter the monitoring unit without an appointment. You can schedule an appointment at any time by calling 1733.

You will find more information about testing for COVID-19 on the FOD Volksgezondheid and Sciensano websites.
You will find more information about GP monitoring units in Ghent here.

What to do after a high-risk contact or a return from a red zone?

  • Did you have a high-risk contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient? You will receive a ‘corona test prescription code’ (CTPC code) from the contact tracers. If you had the contact at school or at work, you will receive this code through the coordinating physician.
  • Returning from a red zone You are required to fill in the passenger locator form and the self-assessment form on the government website. If you represent a high risk, you will receive a ‘coronavirus test prescription code’ (CTPC code).

Have you already received the code? Follow the steps below.

1. You must undergo mandatory quarantine for seven days, starting the day after your return or the last high-risk contact. You can download a quarantine certificate for your employer yourself at this link, using your CTPC code.

2. Undergo a test on day seven. To do so, please make an appointment on this website. Bring your code, wear your mask covering your nose and mouth, maintain proper hand hygiene and maintain the necessary distance.

3. Have you installed the Coronalert app and would like to receive your test result automatically? Generate a reference code in the app in 'Get your test result' and link this code to the CTPC code using this form. Activate this option before registering and taking the test.

4. Is the test negative? You may end your quarantine after seven days, but be extra vigilant in the subsequent seven days (limit your social contacts, wear a mask covering your nose and mouth in all public places and do not visit people with high vulnerability to COVID-19).

5. Is the test positive? You become a confirmed case and must spend at least seven days in isolation. In case of symptoms, please contact your physician.

6. The result of the test can be found at www.mijngezondheid.be or in the Coronalert app.

How do I get the result of my corona test?

If your result is positive after a COVID-19 test at our hospital, one of our staff will call you. You will not be contacted if the test is negative.

Would you still like to see the result? Please do not call the hospital, but go to www.cozo.be or download the CoZo app to track your results.

How to register and view the results can be found here.

I am pregnant/due to give birth: what are the guidelines?

Which check-ups are still being performed? Can my partner stay overnight?

Our gynaecologists answer the most frequently asked questions.

I am a cancer patient, what should I do?

The team of the Integrated Cancer Centre of Ghent (ICG) has compiled answers to the questions most frequently asked by patients.

Should you still have questions, please contact the ICG secretariat.

I have a rheumatic disease, what should I do?

The Royal Belgian Society for Rheumatology has drawn up coronavirus guidelines for people with rheumatic diseases. These can be found by following this link. We recommend that you follow these guidelines.

Should you have any further questions, please contact your GP, rheumatology nurse Inge Huys or your attending rheumatologist on +32 9 243 76 76.

I have Crohn’s disease: what advice can you give me?

The Gastrointestinal and Liver Outpatients Clinic receives many questions from patients with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis who use anti-inflammatory medication. Some of these medicines have the side effect of reduced immunity. Preventing infection is therefore the first priority.

I have an autoimmune disease: should I be particularly concerned?

It is true that as IMID patient you are more susceptible to infection. However, you do not need to stop your medication.

The general guidelines are as follows:

  • Strictly comply with the government’s preventative measures;
  • Do not stop/interrupt your medication preventatively;
  • Contact your GP in cases of fever or symptoms;
  • If you wish to stop your medication, always consult your attending physician first;
  • There is no need for panic; the main thing is to remain calm and positive.

What to do in case of illness? How are IMID appointments and IV therapy consultations organised?

How can you support us?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and stricter government guidelines coming into force, Maria Middelares General Hospital has been making every effort to make long-term adjustments to its operation. Expectations are extremely high and staff have been working incredibly hard during this health crisis. The determination and willingness of our physicians, nurses and employees to manage the influx of patients is unprecedented.

But the challenge will remain for a long time to come and resources are scarce. The stress and high workload are taking their toll too. To prevent our caregivers, our ‘day-by-day heroes’, from being adversely affected, we want to provide them with psychosocial support and the facilities they need. Our patients are also in great need of additional support. People are frightened, or suffering due to the measures banning visits and social contact. We want to show them some much-needed support in these difficult times by providing them with, for example, videochat tools or other useful apps and giving them some extra attention.

Any support to improve patients’ experiences and to help support our colleagues is welcome. We are grateful for any donation you feel able to make using the button below or by transfer to account number BE55 2900 3871 5044 citing the reference ‘Corona’. This will allow us to continue to provide our patients with the quality care they have come to expect from us.

What is Helping Hands Belgium and how can I support them?

Helping Hands Belgium (HHB), an aid organisation located in Ghent, raises funds to support professionals in the four Ghent hospitals through purchases of medical resources such as masks and gloves. Do you want to join them in their activities? Transfer an amount to the account number of Helping Hands Belgium. You can find more information at info.veliyuksel@gmail.com.

Up-to-date information and FAQ can be found on the Public Health website of the FOD Volksgezondheid.

There is a lot of fake news in circulation about the coronavirus. These myths are disproved on the health and science website Gezondheid en Wetenschap.