SMMC Coronavirus Update - March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020
Steele Memorial Medical Center (SMMC) is working diligently with local officials, school district, county, and state agencies, as well as following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. According to the Department of Health and Welfare (DHW), the following actions can be followed to help decrease the spread of the virus:
- Avoiding people who are sick and if you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs using a disinfecting solution.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
In addition, the DHW COVID-19 testing is becoming commercially available as of late last week, more Idahoans are having the opportunity to be tested. SMMC has access to testing, however, given our geographical location; test results can take up to 4 days for confirmation.
The following is the criteria to use to determine if you need to call a healthcare provider to discuss testing:
- Have a fever with cough, or
- Have a fever with shortness of breath AND,
- Traveled to a COVID-19 affected area within the prior 14 days or
- Had close contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient within the prior 14 days
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please call 208-756-5835 so that a nurse may assess you. If you are experiencing shortness of breath or have a difficult time breathing, call 911.
SMMC is also taking extraordinary precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by making the following changes to protect patients, visitors, and healthcare providers.
- Limiting facility points of entry. The hospital will be limited to one point of entry through the ER. The Clinic will maintain both points of entry and the Specialty Clinic will remain open.
- Suspending volunteer groups such as Steele Memorial Auxiliary
- Suspending community group meetings such as Able and Stable
- Taking extra screening precautions to all vendors
- Mandating that all sick SMMC employees stay home
- Closing the SMMC cafeteria to public access
- Limiting visitors to one per patient; no one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit
All above measures have been strongly considered and not taken lightly prior to implementation. The community’s health is the upmost importance and SMMC is doing its part in reducing the number of public gatherings.
Steele Memorial Medical Center is taking every additional step in securing necessary supplies and equipment. We are working rapidly to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatments and that high acuity patients receive the necessary care where appropriate. This may mean transferring patients to a higher acuity level of care.
Please be assured that Steele Memorial is taking every additional measure necessary to guarantee we can care for this community. SMMC is diligently working on staying apprised of ongoing updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this time, we are working on continuous staff education and training so that in the event the facility is affected, we will be able to safely care for our patients.
If you have additional questions about our local collaborative approach to the COVID-19 virus, please send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be posting Q&A updates on our website at steelemh.org as well as Facebook. Additional resources can be found at the CDC website and coronavirus.idaho.gov.