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COVID-19 Updates, Education & Info from PMC

Updates from Pondera Medical Center:

PMC would like to update our community on the restrictions we have implanted and steps we are taking to plan for, and help, contain the spread of COVID-19 in the event that it reaches Pondera County.

First and foremost, we want to commend our staff for their dedication and hard work during these very busy and challenging times. The commitment of our team to our patients, residents and community is the glowing positive in this time of uncertainty and we are grateful to all. We would also like to thank our community for your efforts and cooperation. Our own Pondera County Health Department has been working non-stop to keep our community safe and we continue to work closely together proactively, to stay ahead of the curve. Collectively, we are giving this our very best effort to control the situation, provide updates, keep our facility, patients and staff, and entire community safe!

We are preparing in the event that COVID-19 presents in Pondera County. The symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from mild to severe respiratory illness. A key indicator of your risk is whether you have visited certain countries, states or communities; or were exposed to someone who could have COVID-19.

Symptoms include: Fever of 100.4° or more, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

If you have concerns about COVID, do not go directly to the ER or to the PMC Rural Health Clinic. We strongly encourage you to call the Pondera County Health Department, first. The Health Department can provide you the best course of action based on your symptoms. Our healthcare providers will work closely with the Health Department how we can best serve you. Before visiting our facility, Please Call First at 406-271-3231 (Clinic) or 406-271-3211 (Hospital main line for after hours or weekends.)

We continue to allow no visitation to our Hospital or Extended Care Facility. For the safety and protection of those we serve, we are limiting non-essential Outpatient Services, including Cardiac Rehab, Pulmonary Rehab and Rehabilitation Services. Our Clinic is continuing to see patients; but all visitors are screened upon entry and your entry point will be determined by the nature of your visit. We ask that you please all ahead. At this time, MRI and Mammo services are unavailable. The PMC Wellness Center is closed to the public. If you need Durable Medical Equipment supplies, please call ahead to arrange pickup. At this time, we are not offering the "Birthday Lab" panel from our Laboratory Department. Ambulance Services are responding to calls; but ask that callers disclose symptoms up front to dispatch. If you are in need of CPAP supplies, please call DME first and arrange for Diane to meet you at the screening station in our facility.

Our best opportunity to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. The only sure way to fully recover from COVID-19 is to not get it. Assume that all communities have COVID-19 and take precautions accordingly. We are strongly encouraging everyone to stay home as much as possible. Keep your circle very small... 3 to 4 people. When you do have to leave your home, stay 6-feet away from others, as that is the hypothesized distance the droplets can travel. If you see someone coughing, we recommend you leave the area immediately. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Clean high-surface areas in your home.

Refrain from touching your face. New research indicates that COVID-19 is being spread from prolonged contact followed by touching your face. There is an excellent video from Dr. David Price on our page: www.ponderamedical.org/covid-19 that explains the importance of refraining from touching your face. Steps for your safety include:

· Always know where your hands are

· Carry hand sanitizer with you

· Don’t touch your face

· Wear a mask. This does not need to be a medical mask. It will help to prevent you from touching your face

Let’s talk about testing. The number 1 question we hear is: Should I get tested? This is really dependent on the availability of testing in your community. If you are showing symptoms, take precaution as though you have COVID-19. By assuming you have COVID-19, you can reduce it’s spread by isolating yourself. If you are showing symptoms and handling them, wait a couple days to see if conditions improve. Ask yourself if you have shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is the most telling symptom that your condition could be COVID-19.

Before presenting to the hospital, we highly encourage you to call the health department first; and call ahead to the hospital before coming to the facility.

Visit CDC.gov or https://dphhs.mt.gov/ for the most up-to-date and reliable information.

Take care of yourself and take care of one another. If you are struggling during this unprecedented time, reach out to your provider or call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Thank you so sincerely for your cooperation. We are privileged to live in this community; and we will do our best for all of you.

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 ©2018 Pondera Medical Center • 805 Sunset Blvd • Conrad, MT 59425 • (406) 271-3211  •  caseyr@ponderamedical.org