What you need to know about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Last Reviewed: May 21, 2020
Elective surgeries and procedures have resumed at all of our locations.
LRH Medical Team Urges Public Not to Delay Needed Medical Care
We've spread out the locations we are using to provide care and we are working hard to safely provide for all of your medical needs, from Emergency Room to Drive-Up Lab Services, Cancer Care to Primary Care.
Here are just some of the ways we have implemented new protocols to ensure we can safely care for you:
- Increased lab testing capabilities, including drive-up testing
- Real-time tracking of personal protective equipment (PPE) and local partnerships to meet PPE shortages such as surgical gowns, face shields and hand sanitizer
- Virtual appointments to offer visits with nearly all care-providers on a tablet, phone or computer
- The creation of a respiratory assessment clinic in Fergus Falls, Morris and Elbow Lake, as well as creating separation in emergency departments and other units to protect patients
- Restriction of all visitors
- Screening of patients before they enter any facility
- Social distancing practices in all lobbies, including Plexiglas shields between check in staff and patients
- Everyone wears a mask:
- patient-facing staff wears a mask and face shield
- non patient-facing staff and all patients are provided with cloth masks
- Screening of all employees including temperature checks before each work shift
- Enhancement of already rigorous cleaning practices
COVID-19 Testing Information
Foundation COVID-19 Relief & Response Funds
Virtual Appointments Available
For recent announcements related to COVID-19 at our facility, please visit our newsroom. For our current visitor restrictions, please see this link.
How to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as Coronavirus
- 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 CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
- 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.
- Take action to socially distance yourself from others.
If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19, please call your health care provider or the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 which is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..
It's also critical that everyone does their part to follow these strategies to slow the spread in communities.
What We're Doing in Response to COVID-19
- Our excellent staff of highly skilled nurses, providers on our medical staff, infection prevention specialists and emergency preparedness personnel are all working together with our local and state health departments, our partners in emergency medical services and other agencies to stay apprised of the latest information and to prepare for possible testing and treatment of the virus. We have an interdisciplinary operations team implementing the proper protocols for screening and caring for patients in our ambulatory and hospital locations.
- We are ensuring we have ample supplies, dedicated staff and appropriate equipment to care for any patients with COVID-19.
- We follow all guidelines from the CDC to identify and isolate any patients who might be infectious so that unnecessary exposure of patients, visitors and team members is prevented. In this light we have implemented these visitor restrictions at all of our facilities which have been in effect since March 25th. In addition, all patients and visitors are being screened prior to entering our facilities as of March 18th.
- We are screening everyone who enters our facilities for COVID-19 symptoms. This includes all staff who have temperature and symptom checks prior to each work shift.
- We require everyone who enters our facilities to wear an appropriate mask or face covering.
- We postponed all elective surgeries/procedures as of March 18th to help conserve supplies and protect patients & healthcare staff. Surgeries & procedures resumed the week of May 11th. The period of time between these dates allowed us to build up critical resources to combat the virus and safely prepare to resume surgeries. .
- We began to limit clinic visits by postponing routine outpatient visits beginning March 20th. We have since implemented safe return to service locations for many of our clinic providers to help meet your healthcare needs. Please call us for your healthcare needs and questions and do not delay getting the care you need.
- Providers are offering virtual appointments for routine medical visits.
- Our staff is continually trained and educated on the care of all of our patients. With COVID-19, additional training and education are being conducted.
- We are making every effort to educate and inform the public on ways to remain healthy, including rigorous and frequent hand washing, through this website and our social media outlets.
- We continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of this virus over time so that our health system is not overwhelmed to a point of being unable to manage the medical needs of the communities we serve.
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 (fever, shortness of breath and coughing), you have traveled to an area that has been reported for known infections of the COVID-19, and/or have recently been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, do not come directly to a healthcare facility. We ask you to call first for a phone consult for us to gather specific patient health history and recent travel information. After screening, patients will be given guidance on whether to manage at home following the “Home Management Strategies” below or if appropriate, how to access our drive-up screening process. If you wish to speak with someone about this screening, please refer to the Important Phone Numbers below.
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.
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.