Message from SCMC Chief of Staff, Jason Huikko, M.D.
I would like to start with thanking the residents of Stevens County and the surrounding communities for the hard work and sacrifice that they have put in to this point in our efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. Your efforts are making a difference whether you are currently working in a critical occupation or you are at home during the stay-at-home order. Data came out this week showing that Minnesota has one of the lower rates of infection based on population size, this supports that our actions are making a difference. With that being said, when the Minnesota Department of Health released updated numbers today we did see the largest daily increase of positive COVID-19 cases in Minnesota with 83 new confirmed cases. The state of Minnesota has now been on stay-at-home orders for more than a week and this can be challenging in many ways however now is not the time to become complacent and let the efforts of this sacrifice be lost. Here at SCMC we have taken efforts to support the stay-at-home orders.
Since March 27th, when the stay-at-home order went into effect, we have been deferring routine appointments in the clinic and limiting visits to appointments that cannot be reasonably postponed. We of course remain open for acute/urgent appointments and the emergency department remains open for medical emergencies. We are awaiting a decision from Governor Walz regarding possible extension of the stay-at-home order. In the event that the stay-at-home order is extended or modified we will also extend or modify our current approach to clinic appointments.
Our providers continue to work with their patients to ensure they have medications and their concerns are addressed in the interim. As we continue to listen and adhere to the guidance from MDH and CDC, our process is ever-changing to accommodate and stay on top of the needs of our patients. We are working on starting remote visits such as telephone visits and video visits. We hope to have these options available by next week to be used in the appropriate clinical setting. More information will be coming when this option is available. One change that will be seen starting Wednesday, April 8 is how we are screening patients with respiratory symptoms. SCMC is excited to announce the new location for our Respiratory Clinic to better accommodate the community. This new location will be located in a separate area of our clinic. Please enter through the main entrance where you will be screened. A touchless sensor to open the main entrance door has been installed in order to reduce risk of virus spread. Hours will be Monday-Friday between 8 am-5 pm. Outside of those hours, we will continue to operate the screening out of our Emergency Dept. garage. Urgent Care will also remain open during this time. Hours are still Mon-Fri 8am-5pm & Weekends 9am-12:30pm.
We continue to recommend calling with any respiratory symptoms before presenting to the hospital or clinic except in the event of an emergency. All patients will continue to be screened when they enter the SCMC building. I also encourage limiting the number of people accompanying patients to a visit to the minimum required and if appropriate that the patient come to appointments by themselves. Let us continue to work together as a community and make every effort to get through this pandemic as best as possible. Thank you.
-Dr. Jason Huikko