COVID-19 Update from Jason Huikko, M.D.
SCMC Family Medicine Physician & Chief of Staff
I would like to take a few moments to address the coronavirus pandemic. As many of you may have already noticed there have been significant changes to how we function at Stevens Community Medical Center in recent weeks. We took action to stop elective surgeries and procedures in order to reduce our usage of much-needed supplies such as masks and gowns. This action has been ordered statewide by the governor. We have also set up phone screening and screening of all people at the entry of the SCMC for respiratory symptoms that could be present in an individual infected with coronavirus. For people that have symptoms such as fever, sore throat, shortness of breath and cough that do require evaluation we have set up an alternative screening site located at the emergency department garage area in order to reduce the chance that an individual infected with coronavirus would enter the facility. This action also helps us to preserve supplies such as masks which would need to be placed on any patient entering the building with these symptoms. We have also reduced the number of visitors allowed into the hospital for hospitalized patients in order to reduce chances of spread of the coronavirus. Many of you may have questions on whether or not you should come into the clinic for scheduled appointments. While the coronavirus is certainly the #1 concern for the health community both nationally and globally, we also have to remember that other diseases will continue and we cannot ignore our routine medical care and screenings. For instance, we do not want to have children falling behind on immunizations that they would normally receive at routine well-child visits or to stop screenings that do not use important medical care at this time. I do however ask that if you have any respiratory illness that you reschedule your appointment and come in when you are feeling well. We will also be having our primary care practices work with their patients to ensure that they have enough medications and delay routine follow-ups if it is deemed safe by the provider. If you have any uncertainty about whether or not you should come into the clinic I encourage you to reach out to your primary care providers by telephone or MyChart and those practices can help determine the best course of action. From what I have observed recently, I feel that our community has made great efforts in preventing the spread of coronavirus. I also know that this community wants to help in any way possible. At this time, for most people, the most helpful thing you can do is to continue social distancing, wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Keep yourself as healthy as possible through eating healthy, regular physical activity, and getting adequate sleep. We do know that COVID-19 has greater effect on the elderly and people with certain pre-existing conditions, however it does affect people of all ages so these efforts need to be practiced by everyone. I want to reassure you that this medical pandemic will pass and the actions we take now as a community will go a long way to determine the length and severity of the pandemic. We at SCMC continue to work on a daily basis to ensure that we are as prepared as possible if the pandemic severely affects our community. We also look forward to a time in the future when we can return to more normal operations. I again want to thank the community for all the efforts that have been put in so far and the efforts that are to come.