Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a novel (new) virus that causes respiratory symptoms and can lead to hospitalization and even death.
Dickinson County Public Health is vaccinating people for COVID-19. Those interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to check Lakes Regional Healthcare’s website under “Classes and Events” and LRH’s Facebook page for upcoming clinics. People can also call to schedule a vaccine appointment at 712-339-6050.
Lakes Regional Healthcare provides testing and care through Dickinson County Public Health, Lakes Regional Family Medicine, and our inpatient departments.
Lakes Regional Family Medicine
Patients can receive a COVID test with a provider appointment Monday through Friday, 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. An appointment is required by calling 712-336-3750. Testing will occur within Lakes Regional Family Medicine.
Free, At-Home Testing Pick-Up Available
Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) provides free COVID-19 test kits for people to do themselves at home. Through Test Iowa at-home, a partnership between the Iowa Department of Public Health and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL), area residents can receive a free test kit, collect a saliva sample at home, return the sample by UPS using a provided prepaid shipping label, and receive results through email.
Test kits can be picked up inside Lakes Regional Healthcare’s east and west entrances (Doors A and L) on weekdays from 8 am until 4:30 pm. Each test kit includes step-by-step instructions including how to activate the test kit, collect the test sample, return the sample to the SHL, and when to expect results. Individuals have the option to request a kit to be sent to their home, and to have UPS pick up their sample. This can be done by going to www.testiowa.com or calling 833-286-8378. Results will be sent via email about 24 hours from when the sample is received by the SHL.
How We Care for COVID Patients
We have had much success treating COVID-positive patients at Lakes Regional Healthcare. Medical staff follow best practice treatment protocols from Avera and various hospitals and medical societies. Some of the ways we care for COVID-positive patients include:
Various levels of supplemental oxygen
We have five heated high-flow oxygen machines and four ventilators/Cpap/Bipap machines that improve oxygen flow. There are also four negative pressure rooms in the hospital that are used for COVID-positive patients because they increase the air exchanges in the room to make the air in the room cleaner. We also have in-house Respiratory Therapists to assist nursing staff and monitor the patients’ oxygen levels.
eServices for Additional Care
Our patients receive extra care remotely from Avera professionals via eServices such as eICU, ePharmacy, eRespiratoryTherapy, eER, and eHospitalists.
Symptoms of COVID-19 have been shown to improve when patients take medications such as Remdesivir, an anti-viral medication. In addition, steroids such as Dexamethasone help to decrease inflammation in the lungs. Our healthcare professionals administer these and other specialty medications known to help COVID patients. Although currently supply levels of these medications seem stable, this remains an ongoing concern.
Lakes Regional Healthcare patients who have coronavirus may also receive convalescent plasma, which contains COVID-19 antibodies from people who have previously recovered from COVID-19.
Many patients benefit from prone positioning, which is a term that refers to the patient laying on their stomach. This is especially beneficial for larger patients because it relieves the pressure on the lungs, allowing the lungs to expand and allow more oxygen flow.
COVID Safety Measures Within Lakes Regional Healthcare
Lakes Regional Healthcare has taken several steps to decrease the chances of getting COVID-19 on the hospital’s campus, such as:
- Screen every single person that comes in our doors for COVID-19 symptoms
- Require every physician, staff member, patient, and visitor to wear a face mask
- Require every staff member that works directly with patients to wear a face mask and goggles or a face shield
- Disinfect equipment and other surfaces after each patient encounter
- Use hand sanitizer before and after each patient encounter
- Enforce social distancing as possible during patient appointments
- Follow rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols facility-wide
In addition, we encourage patients to take other steps to reduce their risk of getting COVID-19 while on their campus, including:
- Practice social distancing in waiting rooms
- Practice proper hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer before and after visit
- Avoid touching communal surfaces, such as doorknobs and elevator buttons, as much as possible
- Avoid touching face, eyes, nose and mouth
- Do not come in if feeling sick or have a fever or cough (those experiencing these symptoms should call ahead prior to their appointment)
Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and we encourage you to follow Lakes Regional Healthcare on Facebook (@lakesregionalhealthcare) and YouTube (@lakeshealth) to stay updated on those changes. Every Friday we also post the latest statistics of COVID-19 in Dickinson County on our Facebook page.
We also routinely post videos of the status of COVID-19 in Dickinson County and how we are responding to it. The most recent video can be seen here.