Ready Safe Go: Going the Distance to Create Safe Spaces at Memorial

Experts say that practicing social distancing and wearing a mask are the best ways to prevent COVID-19. Memorial Health System has taken important steps to make sure both of these practices are easy to follow within their facilities.

At Memorial Physician Services, social distancing has been taken a step further by limiting the amount of contact that patients have with others while they wait for their appointments to begin.

“The biggest change patients will notice in our clinics is that we’re not using our waiting rooms,” said Danielle Bone, director, regional clinics. “Patients can now check in from their cars and wait there until their provider is ready to see them.”

Patients and staff are required to practice social distancing wherever possible within MHS hospitals and clinics. In seating areas, signs direct patients to seats that are six feet apart.

Everyone who enters an MHS facility, including hospitals and clinics, is required to wear a mask. All staff wear masks as well. It’s advised to bring a mask from home, although masks will be provided for anyone who does not have one. Upon entry, patients also undergo a quick screening, including a temperature check. Anyone who registers a high temperature, or who displays respiratory symptoms, will be provided with instructions on how to access medical treatment without entering the building.

“Our South Sixth Street clinic in Springfield continues to serve as a dedicated clinic for patients with respiratory illnesses, including suspected COVID-19,” said Robin Murphy, director, ExpressCare. “The respiratory clinic model has been very successful in helping patients with these symptoms get diagnosis and treatment.”

Drive-thru or drive-up laboratory services are available at some locations, including preoperative COVID-19 testing for patients who are scheduled for surgical procedures. Visit for more information on these services.

So why are masks and social distancing so important?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is transmitted most easily through droplets in the air emitted by people infected with the virus. A mask keeps those droplets from spreading.

“Masks are especially important since so many people have COVID-19 without experiencing symptoms,” Murphy said. “Even if you feel well, you should wear a mask to avoid potentially spreading the virus to people who are at high risk.”

Social distancing is also an important tool in preventing the spread. Keeping six feet of distance between yourself and others reduces the risk of infection.

“When you’re in public, it’s helpful to remind yourself what six feet looks like,” Bone said. “For most people, that’s roughly two arms’ lengths apart. It’s best to avoid crowded places whenever you can.”