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 currently vaccinating people for COVID-19 in phases by following Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines. Currently, people in phase 1a are being vaccinated, which includes:
• People that have direct patient contact, are unable to telework, who provide services to patients or patients’ family members, or who handle infectious material.
• Residents of long-term care facilities.
Those interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may complete a short questionnaire located here. Dickinson County Public Health will contact those that have completed the questionnaire via email, once they’re eligible to receive the vaccine, to alert them that a vaccination clinic has been planned and to encourage them to call to schedule an appointment. COVID-19 vaccination clinic information will also be shared immediately on Lakes Regional Healthcare’s Facebook page and the local news media.
Lakes Regional Healthcare provides testing and care through our Test Iowa Clinic and our inpatient departments.
Test Iowa Clinic
Just inside Door D at Lakes Regional Healthcare. This door is located on the north side of where Lakes Family Practice used to be located, along 23rd Street in Spirit Lake. Patients are required to schedule an appointment after taking the survey at www.testiowa.com. They will be tested just inside the hospital.
Monday-Thursday: 7:00 am – 9:00 am and 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am – 9:00 am
* The Test Iowa Clinic will be closed on inclement weather days, defined as when area schools close due to inclement weather.
How to Get Tested:
If you have been exposed to someone with coronavirus, you can get tested by taking these steps:
- Go to www.TestIowa.com and click “Start Now.”
- Complete the questionnaire, and then select “I am interested in being tested.”
- Scroll down and select Lakes Regional Healthcare’s listing.
- Select the date and time for an appointment.
- Screenshot or print the QR code and bring it, along with your driver’s license, to our Test Iowa clinic.
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.