Havre, Montana – Northern Montana Health Care (NMHC) has opened an alternative clinic for suspected COVID-19 patients. It is located on the east side of the NMHC campus at 124 13th Street. Patients who feel that they may need to be assessed by a healthcare professional are asked to call (406) 262-1570. The purpose and goal of this clinic is to triage patients with acute illnesses that may be infectious (fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, and headache).
“The first line of defense in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is by having people self-treat symptoms and stay at home.” States Dr. Kevin Harada, NMHC Chief Medical Officer. “While we have only one positive case of COVID-19 in Hill County at this time, we proceed as though all acutely ill people are potentially infected. Limited testing capabilities do not allow us to test all symptomatic patients and it is unlikely that you will be tested at this time.” Continues Dr. Harada.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is to be worn by medical personnel to protect them from the COVID-19, as well as from other respiratory illnesses such as seasonal flu and RSV. Currently there is an extreme shortage of many of the items used for this purpose.
“It is essential that we are preserving the use of our PPE for appropriate clinical interactions” adds Dr. Harada. “It is imperative that patients are forthcoming with their travel history, symptoms and possible exposures. This is to protect our medical providers and staff.”
Again, NMHC is reminding the community to use the Emergency Department at Northern Montana Hospital for life threatening conditions only. If a person is experiencing the above listed symptoms, you are advised to treat with over-the-counter medicines. If you are unable to manage your symptoms at home, your first contact with healthcare professionals should be by phone.
The most important measure people should take at this time if they feel that they are experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed to someone who is ill is to self-isolate. Quarantining yourself and any exposed family members at your home will help to reduce the spread of this illness.
More information about COVID-19 can be found at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.