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Services during Pandemic – update

Coronavirus Update 3/18/2020
First off; my lipstick is holding up well with all of the mask changes; so I’m feeling pretty confident about that 😊
The COVID-19 tests that I sent off earlier this week returned negative. A viral respiratory panel showed rhinovirus for a child tested from the local area. That virus can cause similar symptoms such as cough, congestion, runny nose or sore throat. It can cause a fever in children, but rarely in adults.
I have sent off some additional tests and will keep you all updated. The people tested were either significantly ill or had travel outside of the area. So thus far; no known cases in Niobrara County. If/when we do have a case; I will work with public health and emergency management services to create an emergency operations center (EOC); which can provide additional support staff and availability for supplies.
If you have a fever or cough; please try to manage at home and consider coming in only if medications haven’t worked or if you have respiratory distress or other concerning symptoms. Don’t panic. There are many other viruses circulating other than just this coronavirus novel subtype. All viruses can only be managed supportively with fever control and cough relievers; and worse case scenario; hospitalization with respiratory support if complications ensue. Thank you to everyone for their kind words and support.
Medical Director
Dr. Joleen Falkenburg
Coronavirus update 3/17/2020
In order to inform, educate, and hopefully reassure our local patients; I will attempt to offer weekly updates on this FB page in regards to SARS-CoV-2 (the Novel coronavirus subgroup that causes the disease COVID-19). With that painful terminology out of the way, I want to remind everyone that medical professionals are also learning new things each day about this virus. Those details are being released to the public around the same time we receive them. As an example; I am caring for patients and cannot check my email frequently to know the exact number of cases in Wyoming. So some of you may feel that you have more “facts” about this situation than I currently understand. But rest assured that I am feverishly reviewing the literature regarding the care of previous patients (such as those hospitalized in Italy) to understand the standard of care for treatment and testing.
This past week, I have seen an increase of upper respiratory cases (cold, cough and occasional fever) in our community. I saw a child early last week with influenza B. I saw an aged adult with fever and cough last Thursday and when preliminary rapid tests returned negative; I did test the patient for COVID-19. The patient was quite ill which prioritized the testing so I received that result last Friday evening; approximately 30 hours after I tested the patient. It was negative. Some test turnaround times for mild cases may be up to 7 days. I am releasing this information to assist you; not to worry you. I AM testing patients. I currently have 8 test kits with more on the way so I am NOT testing every sniffle. I have to be judicious. I am using my clinical judgement and recognizing that someone with a cough can still have bacterial pneumonia or a pulmonary embolism (lung clot). I am NOT allowing this virus to cloud my care of the patient. I performed 3 new tests of upper respiratory panels and some COVID-19 tests on 3/16 to try to better understand what viruses could be circulating through our community. This will empower us with knowledge. We are a rural community so I feel that you should all be aware of the effort I am putting towards this rather than to withhold information until it’s released from the Department of Health. I will keep you informed as I obtain information. This is a large geographical county, so some patients may seek care elsewhere and then a positive case could be reported to me just as quickly as it is released to the public.
It is important to socially distance ourselves. Fortunately; the local population is familiar and comfortable with that. I know many of you are in the midst of calving. You can still support your local merchants by making trips to the grocery store and Rancher’s Feed/Herren’s/Allbright’s Tru Value. They need your business. Try to make short visits and distance yourself from others by approximately 6 feet if possible. You can keep your hair appointments or pedicures as these are one on one visits. The owners understand they need to move appointments if they have illness. Order out from your favorite local Restaraunt/pub. Try to avoid groups larger than 10 people. Get a gift certificate from Bloomer’s to use later if you are worried about browsing the store. Thankfully; we have many gentleman in this area of the world; and I have to ask you to refrain from shaking hands at this time.
This will pass. We are trying to limit or slow the spread in order to reduce the burden upon our healthcare system. If you are sick with symptoms of fever or cough; you can manage with Tylenol/Motrin and over-the-counter antitussive (anti-cough) agents. You are welcome to be seen in the clinic if you have concerns for your health. We are open and here for the community’s needs. If you can manage symptoms on your own; please do so and stay at home until symptoms resolve.
The staff is continuing to care for chronic conditions and acute issues that arise. You are welcome to contact us with questions. Wash your hands, be kind, check on neighbors/elderly; and continue your hard work and faithfulness that we all embrace within our local area.
Joleen Falkenburg MD
Niobrara County Hospital Medical Director

 

3/16/2020 11:38am

ATTENTION STAFF AND PATIENTS:

As of right now, our clinic plans to operate with normal clinic hours. Our doctors and our staff are dedicated to serving you as long as we can. WE will be monitoring the community impact that the COVID-19 virus is having and will adjust accordingly. We have been continually disinfecting the clinic surfaces, which is standard for our office. Given the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we kindly request that if you or anyone in your family have traveled out of the state within the past month, are exhibiting any symptoms (fever, respiratory distress, coughing, sneezing, etc.), or are concerned that you may have been exposed to the virus, that you please call our office to discuss symptoms. We want to remain available to the general public for as long as possible to care for you and your family members. Stay safe, wash your hands and avoid touching your face!
STAFF:
To help prevent the spread of illnesses among patients and staff, the decision has been made to send all non-essential staff home. Non-essential staff are those staff members not required to provide immediate patient care. So Admin, HR, Business Office, IT, Maintenance and Supply will be on leave until further notice. As things update and change notifications will be sent out to all staff.
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National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

    • Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.

      The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.

      People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, smoke, or have a family history of colorectal cancer.

      Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

      • Get screened starting at age 50.
      • Encourage your family members and friends over age 50 to get screened.
      • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
      • Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy.
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Board Meeting

Niobrara Community Hospital – Board Meeting
Open to the Public

  • January 28th 5:30pm – NCH Boardroom – DATE CHANGED!!!!!
  • February 25th 5:30pm – NCH Boardroom
  • Special Meeting –  March 11th, 5:00pm – NCH Training Room
  • March 24th 5:30pm – NCH Training Room – location changed – Town Hall in the Council chambers – limited seating of 10 people total including the board
  • April 28th 5:30pm – NCH Training Room
  • May 25th 5:30pm – NCH Training Room
  • June 22nd 5:30pm – NCH Training Room
  • July 27th 5:30pm – NCH Training Room
  • August 24th 5:30pm – NCH Training Room

 

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