Windom, MN March 26, 2020 – Windom Area Health (WAH) continues to monitor and react to the continually changing COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective March 27th at 6:00 a.m. heightened restrictions on visitors will be implemented. No visitors will be allowed for general inpatient, outpatient or emergency patients until further notice. OB, pediatric, and end-of-life patients will be allowed one adult support person/caregiver in good health. “Our job as a healthcare facility is to protect our patients, employees, and community members,” Shelby Medina, Windom Area Health CEO explains, “and right now, limiting traffic and exposure in our facility is one way to do that.” Family members bringing patients to the facility will be able to drop off the patient, but will not be allowed to come into the facility, except in the situations outlined above.
WAH continues to have a committee that is working daily to keep updated on the COVID-19 situation. Through this group, changes related to personal protective equipment (PPE) are reviewed, policies are updated, and decisions are made on issues related to screening and patient triage in the emergency department.
Kathy Becker, Director of Nurses, discusses the preparations that are ongoing in the emergency department (ED), “We are seeing some higher volumes of patients presenting to the emergency department, especially on nights and weekends. To prepare, we have established screening bays in the ambulance garage to keep patients that might be infected away from the potentially critically ill that are roomed in the ED.” Becker continued, “Patients will be triaged when they arrive, and directed to either enter the ED, or the screening area.” Windom Area Health continues to operate under the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) guidelines of only testing hospitalized patients (or those going to be hospitalized), healthcare workers, and congregate living settings. Becker notes, “Even if a patient is symptomatic and one might presume they have COVID-19, if they are stable we still will not test them due to the limited testing supplies and the direction of MDH.”
The availability of ventilators has also been in the media spotlight. Shelby Medina notes, “With nearly daily calls with Sanford and the Minnesota Hospital Association, we are being communicated that the tertiary hospitals that already have critical care units (Or ICUs) are ramping up their ability and volumes. Here at WAH, we are prepared to take in critical patients, care for them if needed, but we would be transferring them to a setting where that capacity exists. We may keep less critical patients that do not need ventilators long-term, or keep other non-COVID patients to free up space in those ICU facilities.”
It’s important for the public to understand that COVID-19 cases range from very mild, including some with no reported symptoms, to severe. There are cases that have resulted in death. Not everyone who is exposed to this virus will experience serious or life-threatening illness, in fact, the majority of cases are mild. Older people or people of all ages with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at higher risk of developing serious illness. Windom Area Health strongly urges the public to follow our state’s stay at home order and practice diligent social distancing.
Individuals that think they may be sick:
- People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care.
- Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing). Call your doctor before going in. Before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
- Continue to practice good hygiene including hand washing and covering cough/sneezes.
Windom Area Health services are still operating as normal, and we encourage patients to keep their appointments, including:
- Wound & Hyperbaric Healing Center
- Outreach Clinic (some clinics still operating)
- Rehabilitation (Physical, speech and occupational therapy)
- Cardiac Rehabilitation
- Inpatient/Swing Bed
- Imaging (diagnostic)
- Essential Surgery & Pain Management
Patients can call 507-831-2400 to check on their appointment if they wish.
To keep up to date with ongoing operations updates at WAH, Click Here.
To learn more about COVID-19 and get the most accurate, up-to-date guidelines, go to the CDC website by Clicking Here.