NMHC gives update on alternate clinic, COVID-19
Last updated 3/31/2020 at 1:30pm
Northern Montana Health Care is reminding people it has opened an alternative clinic for suspected COVID-19 patients on the east side of the NMHC campus at 124 13th Street.
Patients who feel that they may need to be assessed by a health care professional are asked to cal 262-1570. The purpose and goal of this clinic is to triage patients with acute illnesses that may be infectious - fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, and headache.
"The first line of defense in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is by having people self-treat symptoms and stay at home," said Dr. Kevin Harada, NMHC chief medical officer. "While we have only one positive case of COVID-19 in Hill County at this time, we proceed as though all acutely ill people are potentially infected. Limited testing capabilities do not allow us to test all symptomatic patients and it is unlikely that you will be tested at this time."
Personal Protection Equipment - PPE - is to be worn by medical personnel to protect them from the COVID-19, as well as from other respiratory illnesses such as seasonal flu and respiratory syncytial virus. An extreme shortage of many of the items used for this purpose exists.
"It is essential that we are preserving the use of our PPE for appropriate clinical interactions" Harada said. "It is imperative that patients are forthcoming with their travel history, symptoms and possible exposures. This is to protect our medical providers and staff."
NMHC is reminding the community to use the Emergency Department at Northern Montana Hospital for life-threatening conditions only. If a person is experiencing the above listed symptoms, they are advised to treat with over-the-counter medicines. If they are unable to manage their symptoms at home, their first contact with health care professionals should be by phone.
The most important measure people should take at this time if they feel that they are experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed to someone who is ill is to self-isolate. Quarantining themselves and any exposed family members at their home will help to reduce the spread of the illness.
More information about COVID-19 can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html .