The coronavirus pandemic is not stopping substance abuse centers from offering inpatient care ... but precautions are in place and one center is even testing for the virus.
Centers from across the country are all telling us the same thing ... they aren't turning folks away unless they have symptoms associated with coronavirus. They're also exercising their pandemic contingency plans, remaining cautious and have so far steered clear of the virus' spread.
Honchos at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which has inpatient care at 5 residential sites across the country, tell TMZ ... they're screening anyone who comes in seeking help for substance abuse, and staff is monitoring patients' temperatures and checking for symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.
If a patient shows symptoms common with COVID-19, they will be discharged with a bundle of resources and information to get the proper treatment for the virus.
Hazelden Betty Ford tells us they see this as fighting 2 diseases: addiction and COVID-19 ... and the vast majority of their patients are saying they feel safe despite the looming threat of coronavirus.
The residential sites are also making sure staff wash their hands, disinfect the clinics and maintain physical distancing. Auditorium lectures have been replaced with video streams, and a virtual outpatient program is launching soon.
Meanwhile, the main campus of Caron Treatment Centers in Wernersville, PA is running at close to max capacity with 150 in-house patients ... according to Dr. Joseph Garbely.
During recent screenings at Caron, we're told triage nurses isolated 3 patients who were coughing and doctors tested them for the virus, out of an abundance of caution, but the results all came back negative.
While awaiting results, we're told the patients were held in isolation and given iPads to stream group classes and work on group therapy. They were also monitored by nurses in full protective gear.
The main campus is also practicing CDC guidelines ... social distancing, hand washing and no sharing of toiletries. We're told doctors are using livestreaming to interact with patients.
One patient on Caron's Florida campus was in isolation after exhibiting a low-grade fever, but their test came back negative ... they participated in group therapy via iPad while awaiting test results.