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Clinical News

COVID-19 Admission Protocol

December 14, 2021
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To protect the health and safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Riggs has developed protocols for new patient admissions. The protocol varies depending on whether you have completed a vaccination process or not. Please see below for full details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find information about your response to COVID-19?
We update this page monthly with our testing results and you'll also find updates from the medical director there.
Is it safe to come to Riggs?
Yes. Shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, we instituted regular testing and quarantine protocols. To date, we have only had two positive test results among the patients, both of whom were subsequently given medical clearance to resume their normal activities. (View our COVID dashboard for current statistics.) In addition, over 90 percent of our community has been completely vaccinated, and by the end of 2021 will be fully vaccinated (barring medical or religious exemptions)
Can I get the vaccine after I'm admitted?
At this time, in response to the directive from the President requiring staff of healthcare facilities to be vaccinated, and in line with our philosophy to use the same standards for staff and patients whenever possible, we are requiring that all incoming patients have, at minimum, received the first COVID-19 vaccine dose prior to admission, with the intent to coordinate with the Riggs medical office to obtain their second dose post admission (for two-dose vaccines).
How are you screening new patients for COVID-19?
In addition to usual medical information gathered during the preadmission process, new patients will be screened at intervals by Riggs staff, before and after they travel to the Center, including inquiry about the following:
  • Travel within the previous 14 days
  • Symptoms including: ​
PRIMARY: New onset cough, fever (>100 degrees), or shortness of breath
​SECONDARY: Muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new onset loss of taste/smell
  • ​Exposure to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19
What happens if I don't pass the screening?
If a prospective patient’s temperature is 100 F or above and/or there are symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection, consultation is rescheduled for when they have recovered.
Does Riggs quarantine new patients?
At this time, newly admitted patients are not required to enter quarantine. Newly admitted patients who are fully vaccinated will enter the residential community in the usual way. Newly admitted patients who are only partially vaccinated are required to show proof of a negative COVID test completed within 72 hours of admission, and to be tested on site within 24 hours of admission. All patients will be tested weekly as part of the pooled service provided by Riggs. Given the constantly changing nature of the pandemic and state rules, we recommend you contact the Admissions office at 800.517.4447 to discuss your individual situation.
​What if I get sick after I arrive?
Riggs has established a protocol for all patients (both current and newly admitted) who develop COVID-19. Such patients will enter isolation at Riggs and be treated by our nursing staff and consultant in internal medicine.
If necessary, our consultant in internal medicine could arrange a transfer to a medical hospital for additional treatment.
What happens if a staff member gets COVID-19?
In addition to our vaccination requirements, we continue COVID screening on a regular basis. Any personnel with a positive test result or experiencing COVID-like symptoms are placed in quarantine, which removes them from interaction with patients and other Riggs staff until their status is resolved as safe to return to work.
How long will it take to be admitted?
Riggs admits 1 to 3 patients each week. We recommend calling as soon as possible to begin the admission process. Once assessed, appropriate patients are put on a waiting list for a consultation for admission. The total time from contact with Riggs to admission varies based on how quickly required information is provided to us, and the number of openings we have.
Are you conducting in-person campus tours for prospective patients and their families?
We have resumed in-person tours for prospective patients and their families! Masks will be required for all visitors and staff during the tour. Please contact Admissions at 800.517.4447 to arrange a day and time to visit. If coming to campus is not an option for you right now, you can take a virtual tour of the Austen Riggs Center on our website at any time.
What does the admissions consultation involve?
The decision about whether to offer admission to Riggs is always made at an admission consultation. Admission consultations are scheduled in advance. Upon arrival to campus, Riggs staff will screen the potential patient and any accompanying family members for possible COVID-19 exposure and symptoms, including taking each person’s temperature to check for fever. The patient and involved family members will meet with designated Riggs clinicians over the course of two hours. All participants are required to wear masks. The consultation culminates in a decision about admission to the Center.