WCH Generates $32.3 Million Annual Impact on the State’s Economy

Employs 122 people; generates additional 172 jobs for the community 

Washington County Hospital is a key contributor to Illinois’ economy, creating good-paying jobs to bolster working families while enhancing the health and well-being of the communities we serve. According to a new report, Washington County Hospital provides 294 direct and indirect jobs for the community, and generates a total annual impact of $32.3 million on the state economy.

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WCH Nursing Care Center Identifies a Positive COVID-19 Case

Washington County Hospital has identified a positive COVID19 case within their Nursing Care Center, which is a long-term care unit. While extensive precautions have been taken over the last many weeks to best protect the residents of the unit, one resident was identified as positive on Saturday, April 18th. All families of the residents and on the unit, and unit staff, have been notified. Washington County Hospital has been actively working with the Washington County Public Health Department through the initial testing and follow-up testing/evaluation that is taking place.

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Visitor Restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to heighten concern with increasing cases of COVID-19 in Illinois and our region, WCH has made the decision to implement a more rigid visitor restriction.

No visitor policy implemented on Long Term Care.

Emergency Department- one support visitor only no swapping in and out, must be the same person the entire time ( only exception would be with end of life care or critically ill)

Patients undergoing surgery or procedures – one support visitor only

Med/Surg- no visitors (only exception would be with end of life care or change in patient status)

Rural Health Clinic- one support person only with patient.

Also if you do plan to visit our facility please arrive a few minutes early. ** You will be asked 3 screening questions and your temperature will be checked.**

By placing these restrictions we are maintaining our commitment to care for our patients, residents, staff, and community, especially those most vulnerable amongst us. If you have any questions or are seeking clarification please contact nursing leadership or our emergency preparedness coordinator.  Communication is key to our continued success in providing safe and effective care to our patients and residents. Thank you for your continued patience and participation in this challenging time.

Stacie Hodge RN, DON 618-327-2672

Tabitha Lane- Emergency Preparedness Coordinator- 618-327-2626


A message from Dr. Ginger Fewell in regards to COVID-19

I have been asked to discuss the current outbreak of COVID-19 in our community and hopefully give you some answers to concerns you may be having.

We all have been asked to stay at home because staying home is important to limit further spread of this virus that is already in our community, in an effort to protect the most vulnerable among us. Most people who become ill due to the coronavirus will be able to care for themselves at home just as they would when they get the flu. You should consult your doctor if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms that are not getting better after three to four days. In most cases, testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 is not necessary because it will not change the way your doctor cares for you. For certain individuals that are at higher risk a test may be done to help inform decisions in care. Because this virus has already made it to our community testing people who do not have symptoms will no longer stem the spread and with the still limited supply of test kits it is important to prioritize testing for those who are at higher risk of serious illness. You and your doctor or health care provider can work together to determine if you would benefit from a test.

In the event that you need to stay home due to illness it is ok to call your doctor to discuss ways to control symptoms and what to look out for if you are worried but remember most cases are mild. While at home separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible. It is still recommended to limit contact with pets and animals. If you must care for your animals just make sure to wash your hands before you interact with them.

People who care for themselves at home may stop self-isolation when you have had no fever for 3 full days without using fever-reducing medicine AND your other symptoms have improved AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

If you do need to visit your doctor’s office please call ahead and you will be given instructions for arrival. You will be asked to wear a mask before entering and may be guided to a special room.

Some symptoms of more serious illness needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. If you need to call 911 please let the operator know that you may have COVID-19 so that first responders can take appropriate protective measures.

Please be reassured that Washington County Hospital continues to remain open and operational throughout this event. We are here to answer your questions and soon will also be able to have video visits with patients to make it easier to get your routine care in addition to care for acute illnesses. Our phone numbers are listed with this video link.

Dr. Ginger Fewell



March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 2020 has been designated as National Colorectal Cancer awareness month.  Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.  Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.  Join Washington County Hospital in support of Colorectal Cancer Awareness and wear blue throughout the month.  The Colon Cancer Alliance first launched the Dress in Blue Day program in 2009 to bring nationwide attention to colon cancer and to celebrate the courage of those affected by this disease.

WCH wants to increase awareness of the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.  It is estimated that as many as 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women aged 45 years or older were screened routinely.  WCH offers Colorectal and Esophageal/Stomach Cancer screening services.  Testing offered at WCH include Colonoscopy, Upper Endoscopy, and The Pill Cam Capsule Endoscopy.  WCH is partnered with Erica Ibendahl, M.D. and Alfonso Urdaneta, M.D. to perform our Colorectal and Esophageal/Stomach Cancer screening exams.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 45 and those with a family history of colorectal cancer should be screened before age 45. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it is so important to get screened.

According to the American Cancer Society in 2020 there will be approximately 104,610 new cases of colon cancer, 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer, and 53,200 deaths.  The great news is that the death rate of Colorectal Cancer have been decreasing in both men and women over the past several decades.  This is most likely due to the number of polyps being found more often by screening and being removed before they can develop in to a cancer.  It is vital that people understand that there is a 90% survival rate when colorectal cancer is found early and treated.

People over the age of 50 are at highest risk for colorectal cancer.  Other risk factors include smoking, having a family history of colorectal cancer, and being African American.

Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened starting at age 45.
  • Quit Smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

For more information on Colorectal Cancer and Screenings please feel free to contact Washington County Hospital’s Surgery Department at 618-327-2309.  Like WCH on Facebook and visit our website at for latest updates and happenings at WCH.