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Safe surgery during COVID

South County Health has begun a phased approach to re-introduce health care services to the community, starting with elective surgery.

We are doing so with patient and staff safety as our highest priority.

Thanks to the enhanced precautions and procedures that have been in place for months, South County Health is one of the safest public places in our community. Additionally, we are fortunate to be located in Washington County, which has one of the lowest percentages of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Rhode Island.

To ensure patient and staff safety, all patients will be tested for COVID-19 in the days prior to their surgery.

These facts -- combined with additional safety precautions we are taking -- can give you confidence in scheduling your surgery at South County Health.

South County Health has always been home to infection rates well below the state average. Over the past two months, we have taken additional steps to ensure increased safety and cleanliness.

South County Hospital has been rated “A” for patient safety for six straight years by The Leapfrog Group because of our focus on preventing medical errors, injuries and infections.

Here are some important measures we are taking to ensure surgeries are safely performed at South County Heath:

Cleaning practices

Infection prevention

A phased, safe approach to surgery

Our clinical and support teams are excited to welcome patients back to an environment that provides the highest level of protection and safety from COVID -19.

For more information about what our safe restart looks like, please reference our list of frequently asked questions regarding surgery and the resumption of overall hospital services below.

If you need further information, please call your provider's office.

Thank you to the community for your continued support of South County Health.


Our providers have started calling patients who had previously been scheduled for a surgery or procedure to reassess their healthcare needs. Together, providers and patients will come to a joint decision about moving forward with the procedure or continuing to postpone.

For your safety, if it has been more than 30 days since your procedure was postponed, you will need to have your pre-surgery history and physical, your Pre-Admission Testing phone Interview and your laboratory testing redone. You will also be tested for COVID-19; patients who test positive for COVID-19 will be referred to their physician to discuss their care and next steps. When our care team contacts you to reschedule your procedure, they will make arrangements for your testing.

If your procedure was prior-authorized before being postponed due to COVID-19, most insurance providers will only require that we update the date of your scheduled procedure.

Our first priority is re-scheduling patients who had their elective procedures postponed. If you need an elective procedure, please discuss with your primary care provider or contact one of our specialists to determine the next steps.

Throughout this crisis, South County Health has continued to provide surgical care for urgent or emergent case. If you need medical attention, please discuss with your provider immediately. A condition that is ignored can often worsen, escalating the treatment you will require.

As we did when we resumed elective surgery, South County Health will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health, Governor’s office, medical associations, and our clinical staff to plan a safe and effective resumption of services currently on-hold.

Once we resume these regular visits, our schedulers will contact patients whose appointments have been postponed. We will also share this information on our website and social media. If you are a new patient needing care once services resume, please visit our Programs and Services page for the appropriate department number.

Telehealth – including video and telephone visits – is still available for all participating providers; however, some providers are now beginning to schedule in-office visits again. Call your provider's office for guidance on the most appropriate way to receive care.

Yes. Visitor restrictions will continue in place for the hospital and our outpatient locations until it is deemed safe to lift them.

It is important that you continue to seek care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not getting care, particularly for chronic illnesses and urgent or emergency conditions, puts people at high risk for complications later. In particular, doctors recommend calling 911 or going straight to the ER for any of these red-flag symptoms: acute chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, weakness, difficulty speaking, changes in vision, acute headache or abdominal pain that's severe or does not resolve in a few hours.