COVID-19: What SageWest Health Care is Doing and What You Can Do

by | Mar 18, 2020 1:29PM

SageWest Health Care is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors. We can confirm that we have identified and are treating three patients that are presumptive positive of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These patients are in isolation at our Lander campus.

We are continuing to work closely with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the safety of our patients, the clinical team that cared for this individual and all those within our facility.

It probably feels as if coronavirus – or as it is officially known, COVID-19 – is all anyone is talking about these days. As COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses spread across the U.S., you also may feel a certain level of concern over how this disease could affect you or your loved ones, or if your local healthcare provider is prepared to respond to local cases that may arise. We want to provide you with essential information outlining what we are doing to stay prepared and offer you guidance on what you can do to help protect yourself, your family and our community.

What we are doing

SageWest Health Care is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, and visitors at all times. While COVID-19 is fairly new, effectively responding to other infectious diseases is not. We have tested processes to respond to situations involving infectious disease year-round. Here is what we are doing to stay ready and respond to COVID-19:

  • We have a robust emergency operations plan in place and are reviewing and proactively completing a number of preparation checklists out of an abundance of caution.
  • We have hand hygiene products easily accessible throughout our facility.
  • We are screening patients in our emergency department, inpatient units and outpatient clinics based on CDC guidance.
  • Staff treating a potential COVID-19 case are provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to help prevent exposure.
  • Patients with respiratory or COVID-19-related symptoms are immediately provided masks to wear to help prevent exposure to others.
  • We have implemented a zero-visitor protocol, with exceptions to include pediatric patients, OB patients, those receiving end-of-life care and outpatient surgical patients. These groups may have one healthy adult (over the age of 16 years of age), everyone must be screened upon entering. These measures are in place to protect our facility and our community. Please know that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, seasonal flu, and other respiratory illnesses.

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What you can do

It’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a barrage of news reports and social media updates regarding COVID-19. The good news is that there are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls, and doorknobs.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty).
  • Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

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What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

First and foremost – if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.

For non-emergency needs, if you need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) contact your primary care provider and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may possibly be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider to properly guide you and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

We want to reassure our communities that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care. Our number one priority is the health and well-being of our community – and that includes you. In collaboration with our local and state health partners, we are prepared to manage an outbreak of respiratory illness, and we encourage you to follow the guidance above and stay tuned to updates from the WDH and CDC to help protect you and your loved ones. Keeping our community healthy is a community effort, and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community healthy. For more information and to stay abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19, you can visit SageWest Health Care SageWestHealthCare.com COVID-19 webpage and www.cdc.gov.

Wyoming 2-1-1 and the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) are partnering to provide a public telephone helpline for COVID-19 questions and information. 2-1-1 links COVID-19 information as well as local resources and is available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.

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