Community Members Can Help Hospitals Fight COVID-19

Hospitals & Clinics Have Increased Safety Measures to Ensure Patients Have Access to Care

Published online: Jul 24, 2020 Articles, East Idaho Health
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IDAHO FALLS – Over the last few weeks, doctors have seen an uptick in the number of COVID-19 patients they are treating. Hospitals and clinics have been preparing for this moment for months and they are ready and prepared to take care of Idahoans who have been infected with the virus. However, doctors are turning to the community for their help in fighting the growing pandemic.

“We will do all we can to help those who are suffering with COVID-19,” said Dr. Greg West, a member of Mountain View Hospital’s coronavirus committee. “However, our community members have the opportunity to have the biggest impact against the virus. They are the ones who have the power to help stop the spread.”

Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Mountain View Hospital are encouraging community members to watch their distance, wear a mask and wash their hands. The medical staff says these three simple steps will significantly reduce transmission rates and help the community recover from the impacts of the virus faster.

The coronavirus mainly spreads when someone with the virus produces droplets, either through coughing, sneezing or talking, and those are inhaled by the people around them. By keeping at least six feet of space between you and others, Idahoans can reduce their risk of catching the virus through respiratory droplets. It is also possible to catch the virus by touching a surface that is contaminated with COVID-19 and then touching your nose, eyes or mouth. Frequent hand washing can help to reduce this risk. 

“If we look across the globe at communities where they are diligently wearing masks, there is increasing evidence that masks slow the transmission of COVID-19. Right now, any reduction helps,” said Dr. Richard Nathan, an infectious disease doctor at Idaho Falls Community Hospital. “If Idahoans want to send children back to school, once again see their friends and family and return to a more normal state, we need to wear masks. Wearing a mask reduces the amount of virus an individual may spread if they are sick. They can also help protect you against the virus depending on the type of fabric, how tightly it fits and how often you wear it. I understand not everyone likes wearing a mask but the benefits for our community, far outweigh any temporary discomfort.”

On Tuesday evening, the Eastern Idaho Public Health Board voted to require individuals in Bonneville County to wear masks while out in the community for at least the next 14 days.

Currently, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports Bonneville County has more than 350 active cases of COVID-19. Many of these patients are recovering at home but currently seven are being treated at Idaho Falls Community Hospital.

Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Mountain View Hospital have each taken steps to increase precautionary measures inside the hospitals to keep patients and team members safe. Idaho Falls Community Hospital has started to clean high traffic areas with electrostatic sprayers and hydrogen peroxide fog, to provide and deeper and longer lasting level of clean. Both hospitals have also temporarily restricted visitor access.

“We understand how important the support of loved ones is during our patients’ recovery process. Our decision to temporarily limit visitors in the hospital was not made lightly,” said Casey Jackman, COO of Idaho Falls Community Hospital. “However, with coronavirus cases rising in our community, we felt it was a necessary step to protect our patients and the nurses and doctors who are caring for them.”

Pediatric patients and expecting moms are still allowed to have one visitor with them at the hospital. Exceptions will be made to the visitor policy for patients who may be nearing the end of their life. The hospitals both understand how important it is to be surrounding by loved ones during that difficult time. Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Mountain View Hospital are closely monitoring the number of coronavirus cases in the community and will allow visitors back as soon as they determine it is safe.

Doctors at both hospitals want to remind patients not to ignore their medical needs during this time. If patients need to be seen by a doctor, there are systems in place to protect them from COVID-19 while they receive care. Delaying necessary medical treatment can potentially cause larger problems for patients down the road.

Idahoans should call their doctor directly to establish a care plan that will keep them safe and address their medical needs.

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