Wednesday, March 25, 2020
[Fergus Falls, MN and Elbow Lake, MN] Effective Thursday, March 26th, Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) and Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services (PRHHS are expanding visitor restrictions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We have made the difficult decision to restrict all visitors at all of our clinics and hospitals to protect patients and staff, and prevent the spread of this virus,” said Kent Mattson, interim CEO.
Effective on the 26th, no visitors are allowed, with the exception of certain circumstances including:
- Parent or guardian to minor patient
- Parent or guardian to impaired adult patient
- Support person for laboring patient
- Exceptions based on end of life situations
Visitors are advised to call prior to arrival to arrange for exceptions if possible. All other visitors will not be allowed to enter the hospitals or clinics. Additionally, all visitors are screened for respiratory symptoms upon arrival and no visitors who are ill will be allowed.
“We encourage family and friends to use alternative methods of communication with patients, such as phone calls, Facetime, Google Duo, Skype or other digital channels,” Mattson said. “We recognize this change will be difficult, but we believe it is necessary to protect our patients and staff from spreading illness regardless of whether any reported tests showing a positive case of COVID-19 in our county have occurred yet or not. Based on the opinions of infectious disease professionals, public health experts, and current information available to us, persons in our community have come in close contact with COVID-19 confirmed patients, and therefore we need to proceed with an abundance of caution and expect the virus is among us now,” he added.
Mattson said it’s logical to expect to see positive cases confirmed in the community in the near future, and when that does happen it should not be cause for panic. He said this is the basis for following all of the precautionary measures the organization is implementing, and the current emphasis continues to be on practicing social distancing and other measures to support the effort to flatten the curve.
In preparation for management of phone calls related to a positive test and general inquiries about COVID-19, we urge the public help us conserve our communication lines for those who need urgent medical help. Please see the resources below for more information on who to call and when.
A no-visitor policy had previously been implemented at the Cancer Care & Research Center and assisted living facility, Mill Street Residence. Mattson said the policy will continue at all locations indefinitely.
More COVID-19 Resources
- Patients with questions or concerns about an upcoming appointment should call their local clinic. Phone numbers for all LRH and PRHHS locations are available at: https://www.lrhc.org/contact-us/ and https://www.prairiehealth.org/contact-us/.
- Questions about COVID-19 can be addressed by the MN Department of Health Hotline: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.
- Patients who are experiencing symptoms should call their local provider’s office to be screened and receive further instruction about home management strategies, or whether they should seek further testing or treatment.
- Community members should not call their healthcare provider if they curious about testing numbers or positive cases in the community. Providers are unable to share information of this nature and calls like this tie up phone lines and resources to care for the sick.
- Visit lrhc.org/covid19 for the latest local updates. To learn more about social distancing and what you can do to reduce the spread, visit www.lrhc.org/socialdistance.
About Lake Region Healthcare
Lake Region Healthcare is living out its vision to be Minnesota's preeminent regional healthcare partner. With over 85 medical staff and over 900 employees, its team is dedicated to serving its patients and community with integrity, teamwork, compassion and excellence. For more information about Lake Region Healthcare, visit www.lrhc.org.
About Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services
Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services is a private, non-profit health care organization providing clinical and hospital services in several small rural communities. Bringing specialty and sub-specialty physicians to patients through a vision to lead collaborative efforts that improve the lives of the people they serve by providing quality healthcare and outstanding customer service. More info at www.prairiehealth.org.
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