Wednesday, April 1, 2020
St. Luke’s Pledges to be there as Coronavirus Cases Spike
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St. Luke’s Wood River will continue to provide care during the coronavirus pandemic, promised CEO and President Chris Roth.
 
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The president of St. Luke’s Health System tried to calm a rattled Sun Valley community on Monday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the county jumped from 21 to 36.

Legions of rumors and concerns had circulated through the community over the weekend as news of the stricken caregivers surfaced and the hospital cut back services without detailed explanation. On Monday both health care providers and the general community said they’d heard the hospital closing.

St. Luke’s President and CEO Chris Roth noted that some caregivers at St. Luke’s Wood River had tested positive and even more had self-quarantined due to possible exposure.

But he said the hospital is not closing.

“Last week it became necessary to temporarily suspend non-emergent services at St. Luke’s Wood River. This decision has prompted many to ask whether St. Luke’s Wood River will be there for care,” Roth said. “The answer is an unqualified yes. Our team is 100 percent focused on providing the best care possible care which is why, during this unprecedented time, our local caregivers must focus resources where they are needed most.”

Roth noted that St. Luke’s Wood River’s Emergency Department remains open and that a COVID-19 drive-through screening and sample collection tent is available for patients exhibiting symptoms from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. A walk-in clinic in the physician’s annex next to the hospital is open daily for urgent-care needs.

Elective and non-emergency surgeries have been suspended, as has physical and occupational therapy. Patients may be seen through a telehealth option.

The hospital, which has two intensive care rooms and one ventilator, is not admitting people with respiratory failure or other complications needing intensive care. They're being sent to other hospitals.

St. Luke’s Health System is also sending staff, physicians and supplies to the Ketchum hospital while accepting transferred patients from the Wood River Valley, Roth said.

“I want to acknowledge our staff who are dealing with COVID-19 as patients or are quarantined. To our physicians, nurses, clinical staff, housekeepers, first responders and all other caregivers on the front lines, thank you for your incredible commitment to the care of the community,” he added (see Spanish translation at the end of this article).

The community can expect to see expansion and contraction of services as deemed necessary to protect the safety of the community and caregivers as the battle against the very contagious disease continues.

One St. Luke's Wood River doctor urged Blaine County residents to do their part by staying apart.

“Please help your family, friends and fellow neighbors by following the Blaine County shelter-in-place order,” said Dr. Deb Robertson, medical director of St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Department. “Stay home if you are sick, practice good hygiene and social distancing.”

Seek testing at the drive-through screening only if you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus and are experiencing such symptoms as a fever greater than 100 degrees, a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal symptoms or body aches, she added.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, call 911. For information about COVID-19 visit www.stlukesonline.org.

Other St. Luke’s hospitals suspended non-urgent/non-emergency operative and invasive procedures on Monday, as well, to help limit exposure risk to patients, staff and providers and to help conserve needed supplies as the number of cases across Idaho balloons. They also instituted a no-visitor policy with limited exceptions to ensure a safe environment for patients, staff and providers.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Idaho jumped from 50 to 77 on Monday--the largest jump in one day. That's of 1,537 tests.

Eleven counties now have cases. Bannock County, home to Pocatello, reported its first two cases—men in their 30s with a history of travel.  Cassia County reported a positive test for a woman over 70 who was likely exposed by house guests from areas with community spread. She is hospitalized.

And the case of a 12-year-old in Georgia fighting for her life on a ventilator showed that the coronavirus is no respecter of age. Six hundred Americans have died; so far, no Idahoans have died.

With no vaccines or treatments, the only way we can slow the spread is distance, warned the chief infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine.

“It takes two to 14 days for an infected person to exhibit mild symptoms. There are so many people who got sick today who haven’t even noticed that they got sick yet. They picked up the virus and it’ll take a week to see that show in our numbers,” said Associate Professor Emily Landon.

Landon said even holding a book club is dangerous in the face of such an unforgiving virus.

“It’s really hard to feel like you’re saving the world when you’re watching Netflix on your couch. But, if we do this right, nothing happens,” she said. “And, yes, a successful shelter in place means that you will feel like it was all for nothing. And you would be right. Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family and that’s what we are going for here.”

Despite the increase in numbers, Gov. Brad Little has refused to issue stay-in-place restrictions for Idahoans like those already in Blaine County.

But the Idaho State Board of Education did announce Monday that all schools throughout the state would close until April 20. That's two weeks longer than the Blaine County School District had announced it would be closed.

Little did relax some red tape in order to get health care workers on the job more quickly. And he extended the deadline for state taxes to June 15.

Estoy con ustedes.

Por Chris Roth, Presidente y Director General de St. Luke’s Health System

Comunidades en todo el país y el mundo están haciendo frente al impacto profundo y continuo del virus COVID-19.

Nos ha afectado directamente en el condado de Blaine. Como posiblemente sepan, el contagio comunitario de COVID-19 ha llegado a varios de nuestros empleados en St. Luke’s Wood River. Algunos han dado positivo a la prueba y un mayor número ha tenido que ponerse en cuarentena debido a su posible exposición al virus.

La semana pasada, fue necesario suspender temporalmente en St. Luke’s Wood River, la atención a menos que sea de emergencia, esta decisión ha llevado a muchos a preguntarse si St. Luke’s Wood River los podrá atender.

La respuesta es indudablemente sí. Nuestro equipo está comprometido al 100 por ciento en proporcionar la mejor atención posible, y es por ello, que durante en esta etapa sin precedente debemos enfocar nuestros recursos donde sean más necesarios.

Nuestra Sala de Emergencias está abierta, también tenemos instalada una tienda de campaña para la detección y toma de muestras de COVID-19, desde el automóvil, en pacientes que presentan síntomas. La clínica al lado del centro médico está abierta a diario para cubrir necesidades de urgencia sin cita previa. St. Luke’s Health System continúa sirviendo el área de Wood River a través del envío de personal, médicos y suministros, además de contribuir con sus conocimientos y aceptar los pacientes que deben ser trasladados.

Mientras seguimos avanzando en las semanas venideras, continuaremos tomando las decisiones más convenientes para el mejor interés de nuestros vecinos y nuestra comunidad, y de esa manera asegurar que podremos proporcionar la atención de calidad a la que están acostumbrados. Nuestra “nueva vida normal” puede variar a diario, pero lo que nunca va a cambiar es el compromiso que tenemos hacia ustedes.

La gente de Wood River Valley tiene un legado envidiable de apoyo mutuo. Tenga la seguridad que St. Luke’s y su personal están con usted, su familia y su comunidad. Mientras navegamos juntos por estas aguas desconocidas quiero agradecerles por la confianza que nos dan y por la oportunidad de cuidar de usted y de su familia.

Tal y como se vaya desarrollando la situación, estaremos comunicándoles más información. Por favor, visite nuestra página web www.slhs.org para encontrar información actualizada.

Quiero reconocer a los miembros de nuestro personal que están teniendo que hacer frente al COVID-19 como pacientes o en cuarentena. A nuestros médicos, personal de enfermería, personal clínico, personal de limpieza, personal de los servicios de emergencia y otras personas que se encuentran en primera línea: Gracias por su gran dedicación al cuidado de nuestra comunidad. Quiero que sepan que su comunidad les apoya.

A nuestros vecinos y socios en la comunidad de Wood River: Admiramos su fortaleza, apoyo y gentileza, estamos agradecidos por la solidaridad y la preocupación que han mostrado por nuestra comunidad y nos sentimos inspirados por su resistencia.

Estamos juntos en esto.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Albertsons Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Blaine County Students to Return to ‘School’ with a Fluid Plan

Whole Lot of Shaking Going on at Shake Creek
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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