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Myrtue Preparing for Additional COVID-19 Cases

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Myrtue Preparing for Additional COVID-19 Cases
*Updated 4/3/2020*

Myrtue continues COVID-19 testing; Implementing telehealth

As of April 2, 2020 there have been five cases confirmed in Shelby County, with 28 negative tests and 15 pending.

Telehealth is making a very positive contribution to healthcare during this pandemic, and is being used in a variety of ways. Myrtue will be using telehealth in the Rural Health Clinic and in nursing homes. Telehealth will allow our patients to access care from our Rural Health Clinic providers in the convenience of their home or anywhere using a computer or mobile device. We will also be utilizing this technology to provide care to nursing home patients.

Myrtue is continuing to prepare for caring for critical patients. Telemedicine will be available to our hospitalized patients as a way for them to access care from a specialist in a different location. Our providers and nursing staff will have access to an Intensivist (Critical Care Specialist) using telemedicine for COVID-19 patients. This will allow video monitoring and provide specialized guidance for critical care patients.

While we don’t know exactly how the COVID-19 situation will evolve or how many Shelby County residents may be affected, we are prepared for and expecting additional cases to be confirmed in Shelby County. When this happens, Shelby County Public Health will not be releasing information regarding the whereabouts of individuals with confirmed COVID-19 because Iowa Code prohibits the county or state from releasing information about an individual that could lead to their identification. Additionally, providing information about the whereabouts of a case may give false security to community members who may see this information and think they are safe because they have not been in those places.

“When a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed in Shelby County, we are following the guidance of Iowa Department of Public Health regarding disease investigation and notification of any individuals deemed to be at risk,” said Lori Hoch, Director of Shelby County Public Health.

“It is important for the public to realize that Myrtue employees do not necessarily have any more information than what is available to the public regarding COVID-19 cases,” stated Myrtue CEO Barry Jacobsen. “Even if an employee is aware of specific information, they can’t talk about it due to patient privacy and confidentiality standards.”

We know the virus is circulating in our county, our state and the country. That's why we are recommending important personal protection actions for everyone, which include staying at home as much as possible, staying away from groups of people, maintaining a 6 foot distance from other individuals when at the grocery store, outside, or in other areas, and staying home even if only mildly ill.

“We realize it is human nature to speculate and worry during a crisis, but we ask the public to refrain from sharing hearsay, whether in person or on social media, as this may add to the confusion and increase anxiety within the community. We urge the public to rely on trustworthy sources of information regarding COVID-19,” stated Hoch. “Take personal responsibility, worry about what you are doing and not what others are doing. Make sure you are staying at home, social distancing, covering your cough, not touching your face and washing your hands.”