What You Need to Know About COVID-19
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in:
- individuals 65 years of age and older;
- individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19; and
- individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19.
This authorization applies only to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Please call us to schedule a vaccine appointment.
- For symptomatic patients:
- Currently we are testing symptomatic patients through our drive-thru or with a provider visit. If you would like to schedule an appointment for the drive-thru please call our appointment line. If you would like to see a provider, please call the appt line or visit our Walk-In-Clinic.
- There are a variety of other options available for testing:
- Walgreens has free testing available in Fergus Falls utilizing the same rapid test LRH uses. To make an appt visit their website at https://walgreens.com
- MDH has a testing site in Moorhead Monday-Thursday from 11am-6pm at the former Thomas Edison Elementary School. You can sign up online for an appt time at https://mncovidtestingappt.as.me/schedule.php
- MDH also offers a test at home option through Vault. To order an at-home test at no cost visit https://learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota/
- Antigen tests can be purchased over the counter at local pharmacies.
- For asymptomatic patients:
- Please contact your provider for an order. If you don’t have a primary provider, the above options are also available.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) and Prairie Ridge Healthcare (PRH) are available to help those who are eligible receive their third dose of the vaccine. It’s best to talk with your healthcare provider about your medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for you. Please call your provider to have this discussion and if appropriate, to receive further instruction on how to schedule your vaccine.
Eligibility conditions for 3rd doses include:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies.
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy.
- Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy).
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes).
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20 mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.
In some but not all cases, your provider may recommend temporarily holding or decreasing immunosuppressive medications around the time of vaccination. You can read more about this topic in this article.
- LRH/PRH are offering vaccines at provider visits and occasional vaccine clinics. Please call the appointment line at 218.739.2221 to schedule.
- Otter Tail County Public Health is also hosting weekly COVID vaccine clinics. You can schedule online by calling 218-998-8320or visiting their website at https://ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/covid-19-vaccine/
- You may also check with Horizon Public Health for their vaccine opportunities by visiting their website at this link.
- Several local pharmacies also offer the vaccine.
- You can search for vaccine locations near you at this website: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp
- Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains and unvaccinated people are most at risk. Your best protection is to get the COVID vaccine. We have vaccine clinics scheduled for 8/11 and 8/18, if you’re interested.
- If you have more questions, public health is a great resource. You can reach Otter Tail County Public Health at 218-998-8320 or visit their website https://ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/covid-19-situation-update/
The COVID-19 vaccine is being provided at no cost. We will ask for insurance information to submit an administration fee to your insurance company if applicable. If insurance does not cover this fee, it will not be passed on to you.
The American Hospital Association has a resource that answers many of the frequent concerns we hear about the vaccine. It can be found at https://www.aha.org/vaccine.
Several of our providers have offered some video comments regarding vaccine safety and efficacy as well. Those can be viewed on our website here.
- You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit. You no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.
- Learn more about the timing of other vaccines.
Masks are still required in healthcare settings, including all our locations. While the masking recommendation by the CDC and the Governor for vaccinated individuals in certain area has lifted, local businesses and workplaces may continue with individual requirements for masking at their discretion as well. Please be respectful of posted signs and guidelines for the places you visit.
Vaccine Information & Resources
All Minnesotans 16 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine. We have created a dedicated page for COVID-19 Vaccine information & resources and you can find it here.
As of June 6th, our visitor policy is:
- All patients & visitors entering our facility continue to be asked COVID screening questions and are required to wear masks in the facility in accordance with CDC and MDH guidelines for healthcare settings.
- No visitors are allowed for COVID-positive in-patients.
- A limit of one visitor per patient at the Cancer Center.
Where you can get MDH Saliva Testing in Minnesota
How to get the MDH Test at Home Kit
Other Helpful Resources Related to Testing
If your COVID test is positive, you may qualify for monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment. If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 your healthcare provider might recommend that you receive a monoclonal antibody infusion. Read more about this treatment here.
What Should You Do if You Think You Have COVID-19?
Because most cases of coronavirus are able to manage and recover from the illness by staying home, resting and drinking plenty of fluids, as of today we are offering the following guidance:
- Patients who think they may have COVID-19 are asked to call us before coming to a healthcare facility.
- If you experience the symptoms of COVID-19 we ask you to call first for a phone consult for us to gather specific patient health history. After screening, you will be given guidance on whether to manage at home following the “Home Management Strategies” below or if appropriate, how to access testing or schedule an appointment with us.
- If you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting your test results, or you have received a positive test results, please follow these guidelines for self-isolation and learn more about how & when to quarantine here.
Home Management Strategies:
- Stay home except to receive medical care.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home (preferably own bedroom and bathroom).
- Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.
- Wear a face mask if around others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Monitor your symptoms – if illness is worsening (ex: difficulty breathing), call your healthcare provider.
- Remain on home isolation until your healthcare provider and state/local health department confirms it is safe to discontinue.
Foundation COVID-19 Relief & Response Funds
Virtual Appointments Available
In The News
For recent announcements related to COVID-19 at our facility, please visit our newsroom.
How to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as Coronavirus
- Get the COVID-19 Vaccine.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask in certain settings or when not vaccinated or high risk, along with any state or local masking requirements.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Maintain a 6 ft. distance from others if not vaccinated.
Important Phone Numbers:
Lake Region Healthcare Fergus Falls Clinic: 218-739-2221
Lake Region Healthcare Fergus Falls Hospital (24 hours): 218-736-8000
Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Service Elbow Lake Clinic: 218-685-7300
Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services Morris Clinic: 320-589-4008
Otter Tail County Public Health Hotline: 218-998-8320
Resources are available to keep you up-to-date on COVID-19 and to help you reduce the risk of infection for yourself and your family.
The CDC website offers abundant, current information about COVID-19. It is updated often. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Continue to visit our website and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lakeregionhealthcare/. We will continue to provide regular updates and new information as it becomes available.