Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information Learn More
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information
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 the most up-do-date information on the virus, please contact the health department.
COVID-19 Online Risk Assessment
To help support the health of our community, we are providing access to an online COVID-19 risk assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This tool does NOT provide a diagnosis, and it should NOT be used as a substitute for an assessment made by a healthcare provider.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
- MS State Department of Health: https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420.html
- Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday): 877-978-645
Bolivar Medical Center is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors.
Our hospital is prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond. We have been preparing for the surge of COVID-19 in our community for several weeks, building upon the robust emergency operations plan we have in place year-round.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have implemented strict visitor restrictions, moving to a zero-visitor protocol, and limited entry points to the hospital, effective July 28, 2021. Exceptions to this visitor protocol may include pediatric patients, obstetric patients, nursing home residents and those receiving compassionate care.
The hospital has limited entry as well. All patients entering the hospital should use the Emergency Department. Employees should continue to use the employee entrance only.
We are continuing to work closely with the Mississippi State Department of Health and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the safety of our patients, the clinical teams who have been caring for these patients and all those within our facility.
We want to reassure our community that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care. We stand ready to serve you.
To stay the most up-to-date, review some additonal news items:
- Community members are urged to wear masks
- How the pandemic has made Bolivar Medical Center better
- Care Connect communication line available
Variant Strains of COVID-19
What is Bolivar Medical Center doing to prepare for the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant?
Our team is highly skilled at managing and treating infectious diseases of all types, including COVID-19. We are continuing to closely follow guidance from the CDC and our local/state health departments and are adhering to the rigorous health and safety protocols that have always been in place at our facility. These operating protocols were further enhanced when the pandemic began and include:
- Requiring masking for everyone inside our facilities
- Screening for COVID-19 symptoms
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols
- Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment
- Isolating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
Is the Delta variant more contagious than the other strains?
Yes. Studies have shown that the Delta variant has a much higher rate of transmissibility (40-60% greater) than any other identified strain, which means it is more contagious. It is estimated that the Delta variant is responsible for more than 50% of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. at this point.
Is the Delta variant more deadly?
We are still learning about the characteristics of the Delta variant as the research continues to evolve. For now, we know that the best thing you can do is get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect yourself. Vaccinated individuals are significantly less likely to spread the virus, become severely ill if they do contract COVID-19 or require hospitalization. Notably, over 99% of all deaths due to COVID-19 in June 2021 across the U.S. were in the unvaccinated population.
Is Bolivar Medical Center testing COVID-19-positive patients for the Delta variant?
Our COVID-19 test will detect the Delta variant, however the specific type of variant doesn’t impact how we care for COVID-19 patients, nor does it impact the health and safety protocols already in place to protect our team and all those who enter our facilities.
Will there be other strains of SARS-CoV-2?
It is normal for viruses to mutate and develop new strains – this happens with the influenza virus every year, for example. Because of this, there are several different strains of the SARS-CoV-2 currently circulating, including the delta variant, and it is likely that other strains may develop over time. It is very important to get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect yourself and others from any strain of the virus.
What should our community do to slow the spread of the Delta variant?
The best defense is to get a COVID-19 vaccine and encourage everyone you know to get vaccinated. At this point, most of the patients we are seeing who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. It is also wise to wear a mask, socially distance from others and practice proper hand hygiene to help slow the spread of illness.
If I have already been vaccinated, should I get a booster shot to help further protect myself against the Delta variant?
Studies are still ongoing to determine how long immunity lasts for a vaccinated individual and if COVID-19 booster shots are necessary. At this time, the best thing to do is make sure you are fully vaccinated for maximum protection – either by receiving both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose vaccine regimen or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.
Are breakthrough infections more likely with the Delta variant if I’m already vaccinated?
Breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are possible regardless of the specific variant, as no vaccine is 100% effective. The good news is that even if you contract COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, you are significantly less likely to become severely ill or require hospitalization.
Has the Delta variant been identified in our community?
The best source of information regarding the presence and impact of the Delta variant in our community is the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Bolivar Medical Center has received a number of questions from our patients about when the COVID-19 vaccine may be available to them. While we are thrilled with the outpouring of interest from our community members in getting vaccinated, it is important to keep in mind that we are following a very specific process that will take time to roll out more broadly.
At this time, we are focusing on administering COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government and our state – this includes vaccinating our own healthcare workers and first responders. We are carefully following the protocols in place and will continue to work closely with Mississippi Department of Health, which is directing vaccine distribution in our community. If you have specific questions on when you may be eligible for the vaccine, please refer to the health department website at msdh.ms.gov or call the COVID hotline 877-978-6453.
One key thing you can be doing now is ensure we have the most updated contact information for you on file. We encourage you to message us through the patient portal to confirm your communication preferences.
We are eager to vaccinate as many individuals as possible and are doing everything we can to ensure a smooth rollout at our facilities and also in our community when the time comes. Once the vaccine is more widely available, we will work with our local and state partners to educate our community on how and where to get vaccinated. Check our website and social media platforms often for immunization plan updates.
Thank you for your patience and understanding – and for continuing to do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and practicing proper hand hygiene.
Common Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines:
Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? When will it be available to the general public?
We are in the process of distributing the vaccine in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government and our state health departments. Vaccine administration has begun with our frontline healthcare workers. As soon as the vaccine becomes more broadly available, we strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated.
The vaccine was produced very quickly. How do I know it is safe?
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is the top priority while federal partners work to make the COVID-19 vaccines. Despite what the name may suggest, “Operation Warp Speed” does not mean that manufacturers were able to skip steps or cut corners in the vaccine development process. Instead, after development of the vaccine, manufacturers took a secured risk and overlapped the study, manufacturing and distribution phases. The FDA committed to giving these vaccinations priority (not rushed) review at all phases of the studies, which helped speed up the overall process. Ongoing monitoring of vaccine effectiveness and side effect reports will continue to be evaluated by the FDA and the manufacturers.
If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, should I still wear a mask?
Yes. For several reasons, a mask and other proven methods of preventing COVID-19 (hand hygiene and social distancing) are still important even after receiving the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?
Yes, at this time the vaccine is recommended even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, individuals who have previously been infected with COVID-19 should proceed with getting the vaccine. However, due to limited vaccine supply at this time, you may be asked to wait to get the vaccine if you had COVID-19 within the previous 90 days, as the likelihood of reinfection during this time period is likely low.
Can you contract COVID-19 by getting the vaccine?
No. The vaccine is NOT a live vaccine, and it is NOT possible to contract COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Some people experience side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, muscle pain, or fever – but that does not mean you have COVID-19. It means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus, which is a good thing.
What are the possible side effects/adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccine?
The most common adverse reactions reported have been fatigue, headache, fever/chills and joint pain. This means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus.
You can read more in Pfizer’s FDA Briefing Document about the side effects reported among the vaccine study participants.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to children?
The COVID-19 vaccine is not indicated for children younger than 16 years old at this time.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to pregnant women?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals. It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available have not been tested in pregnant women, so there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy. Pregnant women should make an informed decision after discussing with their healthcare provider.
How many doses are required? If multiple, when do I get another dose?
For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, two doses are required. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose. It is very important to note that the second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
What should I do if I am unable to get the second dose exactly 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose?
While it is recommended that you receive the second dose as soon as feasible after day 21 or day 28, we understand that it might not be possible to receive it on the desired date. This could be due to multiple reasons. Please keep the following in mind if you cannot receive the second vaccine dose on the desired date:
You must receive the second dose from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
Get the second dose as soon as possible after the desired date has passed, as it is better to get the second dose late than not at all. You will still experience the same efficacy in the long run, although you may not see the full effect of the immunity until a few weeks after the second dose.
How long after receiving both doses of the vaccine until it is considered effective?
Similar to the flu vaccine, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. As a general rule, the vaccine is considered effective about two weeks after the second dose, according to the manufacturers. There is evidence that the first dose will begin providing some immunity, but it is still very important to receive the second dose for optimal results.
Can I choose which vaccine I get (Pfizer or Moderna)?
We do not recommend waiting for a specific manufacturer. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar efficacy and potential side effects, and have shown decreased disease severity in the small numbers of study participants who contracted COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Both manufacturers require two doses. It is important to remember that the second dose you receive must be from the same manufacturer. Early defense is better than no defense against COVID-19.
Should those who experience significant side effects from their first COVID-19 vaccine dose expect significant or worse side effects with the second dose? What about those who were previously COVID-19-positive?
Based on data from each vaccine, there appears to be an increased incidence of experiencing certain side effects from the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine compared to the first dose (e.g., fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, and joint pain). This does not mean that all vaccine recipients will experience these side effects with the first or second dose. A full list of the reported side effects comparing Dose 1 and Dose 2 may be found within the Pfizer BioNTech EUA Fact Sheet and the Moderna EUA Fact Sheet.
At this time, we do not have definitive data to state whether vaccine side effects are worse in patients who were previously positive for COVID-19.
How long will I need to be observed after I get the vaccine?
In general, a 30-minute observation period is recommended for anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions (due to any cause), and a 15-minute observation period is recommended for all other individuals.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine result in a false positive COVID-19 test?
No, COVID-19 vaccination will not cause a false positive COVID-19 viral test. Per CDC guidance, the immunity response from a COVID-19 vaccine could possibly result in a positive antibody test, which indicates previous infection and potential protection against the virus.
If I become COVID-19-positive following my first dose of the vaccine, should I take the second dose?
Per CDC guidance, you may receive the vaccine (either dose) following resolution of symptoms, if any, and completion of the quarantine period.
What ingredients are included in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?
Ingredients for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be found via this CDC link. Individuals with allergies to any of the vaccine components should discuss concerns with their healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine.
Bolivar Medical Center Urges Community Members to Wear Masks
Bolivar Medical Center is urging community members to wear face masks or cloth face coverings in public areas where social distancing is not easily achieved in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This aligns with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State Department of Health, as being an effective way to prevent the spread of the illness. The hospital has already instituted a universal masking protocol within its facilities and requires anyone entering to wear a face mask at all time.
Not all masks are created equal. Wear the right one to keep you and others safe. See the image below for guidance. Click the image to download a larger/printable file
Release of Information Request
Due the COVID-19 virus, the Release of Information Department will process all request for medical records via fax and mail. If you would like a copy of your medical record, please complete the HIPAA Authorization Release Form and either fax or mail to the address or fax number below. The HIPAA Authorization Form can also be found on our website at www.bolivarmedical.com. Additionally, if you want a copy of your radiology disk, it too will be mailed. If you have questions please call the number below. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Your source for guidance around all things COVID-19.
- Stop the Spread of Germs
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- What if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
- Manage Symptoms at home
- And much more