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Ask The Answer Person: "What is Winneshiek Medical Center doing to prepare for coronavirus cases?"

Posted: Mon, Mar 23, 2020 5:44 PM

(More than any other reader question, the question we've been asked lately has been, 'Is Winneshiek Medical Center ready to deal with coronavirus cases?'  So we are printing word-for-word in its entirety the latest news release from WMC):

"What is WMC doing in response to COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a newly identified respiratory virus that can spread easily.  It shares several symptoms with influenza.  COVID-19 infection may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.  Winneshiek Medical Center is monitoring this ever changing situation, and is prepared and ready to serve your needs.

What is Winneshiek Medical Center doing in response to COVID-19?
A response team of physicians, nurses, therapists and business staff meet daily to adjust processes to keep patients and staff safe as the situation evolves.  Some noticeable changes include:
--Screening Stations/Respiratory Illness Clinic
--Winneshiek Medical Center has implemented outdoor screening stations to ask patients important questions before they enter the facility.  Patients with risk factors for COVID-19 and/or respiratory symptoms are routed to an area temporarily called the Respiratory Illness Clinic.  Keeping these patients separate from the rest of the medical center will help minimize exposure to illness.  Staff in the Respiratory Illness Clinic wear all the appropriate masks and gowns to keep everyone safe.  Patients without risk factors and/or respiratory symptoms are routed to the regular clinic for care.  There is one screening station at the Main Entrance and another outside the Emergency Department.  Ossian and Mabel clinics are also screening patients, and sending patients with risk factors for COVID-19 and/or respiratory symptoms to Decorah for care.  We continue to request everyone with respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to please call 563-382-2911 before arriving to our clinics, urgent care or emergency room.
--WMC visitor limitations
 Visiting hours are from 8:30 am 8:30 pm for "well" visitors only.  "Well" means no fever, no cough, no sore throat and no achiness.  Visitors must be over the age of 18.  There is a one-visitor limit per inpatient stay (same visitor for the duration of the patient stay).  A spouse/support person is the allowed visitor in the OB department.  All visitors must clean their hands before entering any patient room— WMC provides hand sanitizer wall dispensers throughout the facility.  All visitors must go through a screening process prior to entering the facility.

Working with Iowa Department of Public Health:
Winneshiek Medical Center continues to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Winneshiek County Public Health.  As recommendations change, the medical center alters processes for patient and staff safety. 

As we address this new virus, together, remember to take steps to keep yourself healthy- wash your hands, avoid touching your face, distance yourself from others, and practice appropriate self-care, including staying home when you are sick.  We also recommend you have a plan in place in the event you or a family member is directly impacted by the virus.

For all COVID-19 resources for the general public, visit Winneshiek County Public Health or Iowa Department of Public Health online, or call the state COVID-19 hotline by dialing 2-1-1.  Please continue to monitor the Winneshiek Medical Center Facebook page for the most current information from Winneshiek Medical Center."