Wednesday, November 25, 2020
St. Luke’s Pauses Elective Surgeries, Sends COVID Testing Back North
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With winter coming on COVID testers will work out of a trailer instead of a tent outside St. Luke’s Wood River.
   
Friday, November 13, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

St. Luke’s Wood River will stop scheduling certain elective surgeries and procedures temporarily due to increasing COVID-19 infections resulting in hospitalization.

But elective surgeries and procedures that are already scheduled will proceed as planned, with the status evaluated on a weekly basis. Elective outpatient surgeries or procedures that do not require an overnight stay will not be impacted.

The entire St. Luke’s Health System is pausing elective surgeries and procedures that require an overnight stay and can be delayed 90 or more days without negative consequences.

The temporary pause goes into effective Monday, Nov. 16, and will be in place for six weeks until Friday, Dec. 25.

St. Luke’s hospitals in Ketchum, McCall and Mountain Home will not cancel any currently scheduled surgeries and procedures for the time being.

But St. Luke’s Boise, Meridian, Magic Valley and Nampa medical centers are canceling elective cases that require an overnight stay and can be delayed 90 days or more that have already been scheduled during the week of Monday, Nov. 16. St. Luke’s will continue to evaluate the cancelation of future elective procedures on a weekly basis.

In Twin Falls, St. Luke’s Magic Valley will continue to transfer pediatric patients needing admission to other facilities with the following exceptions:

  • Patients who are at least 14 years old and at least 88 pounds and non-COVID may be admitted to an adult bed at Magic Valley hospital.
  • Patients fewer than 28 days and non-COVID may be admitted to the Magic Valley NICU.

The action was necessitated by the increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and lack of capacity at hospitals throughout southern Idaho, said Carmen Jacobsen, chief nursing officer/COO at St. Luke’s Wood River.

“It is our hope that everyone everyone takes the necessary steps to curb the rise in cases,” she said. “Wearing a mask, limiting gatherings, watching your distance and practicing good hygiene can protect you and your loved ones and help us in our ability to add back elective surgeries.”

COVID TESTING RETURNS TO HOSPITAL PARKING LOT

St. Luke’s Wood River is returning its COVID-19 testing to the hospital parking lot in response to increased demand for testing and in preparation for winter.

Testing will be performed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18 at a mobile trailer near the Physician Office Annex.

Patients will drive up to a window where they will then administer the test themselves under the direction of a caregiver. The test must be scheduled in advance. Patients should remain in their cars and stay in the lanes and spaces indicated for testing.

Those who test negative are reminded that a negative test is not a pass to party. Rapid tests in particular have a higher false negative rate.

Those who have been exposed to a positive person or have COVID symptoms still need to quarantine or isolate.

Patients who have COVID-19 symptoms can use the self-triage tool on myChart to determine what they need to do and, if warranted, schedule a test. Patients having trouble accessing myChart can call the St. Luke’s COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500 between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily to be screened and make an appointment

To use the self-triage tool, visit https://www.stlukesonline.org/symptom-checker. For additional testing information, visit https://get-tested-covid19.org/

SLWR Family Medicine Providers located in Hailey will have the ability to test patients as needed to obtain a clinical diagnosis.  Patients will be seen by a provider on an appointment basis only. To schedule an appointment, visit myChart or call the clinic at (208) 788-3434.

The Saturday clinic for urgent medical needs will continue to be available for non-COVID related injuries and illness from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Suite 109 of the Physician Office Annex next to the hospital. Patients should call 208-727-8888 prior to or upon arrival.


 

 

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