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Myrtue Ready to Meet Post-COVID Challenges, Patient Safety Top Priority

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  • Written By: Myrtue Medical Center

Myrtue Ready to Meet Post-COVID Challenges, Patient Safety Top Priority 

Elective Surgeries
Per a declaration made by Gov. Kim Reynolds effective April 27, hospitals and outpatient surgery providers may conduct “in-patient surgeries and procedures that, if further delayed, will pose a significant risk to quality of life.” Outpatient procedures are also allowed if the provider complies with certain requirements such as maintaining adequate inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE), reserving a certain percentage of beds for potential COVID-19 patients and a developing a plan for determining a patient’s COVID-19 status.

Myrtue Medical Center has implemented an internal governance committee to develop a plan for resuming elective procedures at the hospital and within the outpatient surgery clinic.

“Patient safety has always been and continues to be our top priority,” stated Barry Jacobsen, Myrtue CEO. “That is why we are carefully looking at the best way to implement surgeries and other elective procedures while adjusting to the new hurdles and obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 4, we will be resuming elective surgeries with fewer procedures initially. We will continuously evaluate our supplies and personal protective equipment as we transition to normal operations.”

“Allowing certain clinically-important procedures is in the best interest of the overall health of our community,” stated Myrtue General Surgeon, Dr. David Bendorf. “We are continually looking at best practices and finding ways we can balance the risks and benefits of appropriate and timely intervention. Our primary goal is to ensure these procedures can resume safely and we can offer the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

Rural Health Clinic Resumes Regular Schedule

As of Monday, May 11, Myrtue Medical Center’s Rural Health Clinic will be open during regularly scheduled hours. This includes all satellite clinics in Avoca, Earling, Elk Horn and Shelby, as well as extended evening hours at the Harlan Clinic.

“While it is important for the 65 and older population and those with chronic health conditions to stay at home, it is equally important that these individuals continue to maintain routine doctor’s appointments, immunizations, medication management and prescription refills,” said Lori Hoch, Myrtue’s Public Health Director. “It is critical that people with underlying health conditions continue to receive care for these conditions during the pandemic.”

Routine healthcare services and staying in contact with your healthcare provider are important to maintaining your overall health and protecting yourself against COVID-19. Keeping regular, preventive appointments could prevent a visit to the emergency room later. While there is no vaccine for COVID-19, it is still important to see your doctor for regular immunizations and well/annual visits on time and without delays.

“Managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, relies heavily on regular, preventive monitoring and consultation with your healthcare provider,” stated Dr. Sarah Devine, Myrtue Medical Center Chief of Staff. “The long-term health of individuals with these conditions could be greatly impacted by just one missed appointment. Should you wish, we offer telehealth appointments for your safety and convenience. Our medical staff is here to help you stay safe and healthy, whether it is COVID-related or managing your overall health.”

Wellness Center Partial Re-Opening

Under guidance from Gov. Kim Reynolds during her April 27 press conference announcement, the Petersen Family Wellness Center will be able to partially re-open, starting on Friday, May 1.

“We understand how important fitness can be to an individual’s physical and mental well-being,” said Wellness Center Director Todd Alberti. “The last few months have been difficult for our community. We are excited to welcome our members back to the Wellness Center and we look forward to helping them re-start or continue their fitness journey.”

Certain measures will be in place to ensure the safety of patrons utilizing the Wellness Center. No more than 50 percent of the Wellness Center’s maximum legal occupancy will be allowed in the facility at any one time. Equipment and weight areas will be rearranged to assist patrons in maintaining appropriate social distancing. Additional cleaning of surfaces and equipment will be completed. The pool and sauna temporarily will remain closed to comply with Reynold’s guidance. Childcare services will be unavailable at this time. Wellness Center hours of operation will resume starting at 5 a.m. on May 1.

“We ask our members to use personal responsibility in their choices to come to the Wellness Center, and if at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to stay home as much as possible. We also encourage our visitors to use the facility and equipment responsibly and to think of others and maintain social distancing during their time here,” stated Alberti. “If we all work together, and take certain precautions, we can enjoy the benefits of exercise and community while maintaining a safe environment for everyone.”

Additional COVID Symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified additional symptoms reported from COVID-19 patients. These symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. The symptoms usually appear within two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. “Understanding these additional symptoms, along with the previously known symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, will help patients know when to seek testing or treatment,” stated Hoch. “But, it’s also important to keep in mind, if you regularly have any of these symptoms due to seasonal allergies, routine migraines, etc. we are really looking at symptoms which are different from what you normally experience.”

Continued Precautions as Community Re-opens

“As businesses and organizations in our community re-open, we will see more social movement and a higher opportunity for virus spread. COVID-19 is still in our community and we need to remain cautious,” said Hoch. “If you need to make essential trips, continue to use personal responsibility and maintain social distancing practices. Individuals need to be protective of their vulnerable family and friends—deliver food and prescriptions to their door; check in on high-risk family members frequently; and use technology to connect with those who are isolated. The Shelby County COAD organization is available to arrange grocery shopping services, and the Iowa Community Kitchen has Monday meal delivery service as well,” said Hoch.