County prepares for COVID-19

Humboldt County Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michelle Sleiter said the hospital staff is prepared, equipped and has the training to take on the COVID-19 outbreak.

By Kent Thompson
City Halls, the county courthouse, restaurants and movie theaters may be closing, but important facilities like the North and South Care Centers, Humboldt County Memorial Hospital (HCMH) and UnityPoint Clinic - Family Medicine Humboldt, will remain open, and are the first line of defense in protecting the local population from the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, a viral infection that is being called a global pandemic. In the case of the hospital and clinic, their professionals will be charged with the responsibility of treating the sick.
Both North and South Care Centers, Springvale Assisted Living and HCMH Long-Term Care have instituted "no visitor" policies for the time being in order to protect vulnerable populations of our community.
“We are following the guidelines of the Iowa Department of Public Health, CMS and our local health officials,” Care Center Administrator Leslie Smith said.
“We have made that decision for the health and safety of our Long-Term Care and Assisted Living patients,” HCMH Chief Executive Officer Michelle Sleiter said. “Our goal is to keep about 75 residents alive. That is harsh, but it is a reality right now.” Special exceptions are being allowed in cases of end of life situations involving a patient.
All visitors coming into the hospital and care facilities are being screened.
Sleiter reports that both HCMH and UnityPoint Clinic have test kits and the ability to test. The tests are sent off to the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory and it takes 3-4 days to get the tests results returned. Influenza A and B test results are done in house and results are immediate.
“If there is not a medical emergency we tell people to stay home. We are working on getting simple plain language out on the different symptoms of different diseases, because many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as Influenza A and B.
“We are telling people not to come to the hospital if they are having symptoms. Call the hospital (515) 332-4200, or call the UnityPoint Clinic (515) 332-2015 and a health care professional will walk you through what you need to do,” Sleiter said.
Read more information about this important story in this week's Humboldt Independent.
Check the "Local COVID-19" tab on this page for timely information about closures and postponements and information about the disease that the public needs to know. Also check out the Humboldt Newspapers on Facebook for current information.

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