Hospital updates community on COVID-19

| July 30, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — With COVID-19 present in the community, the Boundary Community Hospital COVID-19 Task Force has been meeting frequently to implement internal protocols to meet the increasing challenges to keep our patients, nursing home residents, employees and community safe.

The task force, made up of department leaders and medical staff, has been working hard on everything from testing to safety procedures to ensure safety, Lauren Kuczka, Boundary Community Hospital marketing director, said.

“The BCH Clinical Medical Laboratory has some of the best COVID-19 laboratory testing in the area,” she said. “ With improved testing capability comes responsibility to ensure prompt results to the providers ordering the tests.”

While everyone is anxious to get the tests done if they have been exposed or think they have been exposed, Kuczka said residents should keep a few things in mind:

Testing

• All tests require a physician/provider order faxed to the lab.

“Your provider may want to wait through a period of time after exposure to ensure an accurate test,” she said. “CDC recommends five to seven days after exposure before testing It will depend on a number of factors which will be discussed with your physician/provider before the test is ordered.”

• Once the lab order has been sent from the physician or health careprovider, the patient should call the BCH COVID-19 pre-registration line at 208-661-5668 to pre-register for the test. The line is open from 8-11 a.m., Monday through Friday. Patients will be placed on a call back list for the next available pre-registration clerk to register patients. Patients are asked to have their insurance information ready.

COVID-19 testing is not available without pre-registration and patients must be pre-registered before coming to the hospital for testing, Kuczka said.

• Once the patient is pre-registered, information about testing check in and process will be provided. COVID-19 testing of pre-registered patients is offered 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Due to high testing volumes, be prepared to wait your turn. Testing is performed curbside with the patient remaining in the vehicle.

Emergency check-in

For the safety of everyone, including patients and staff, the Emergency Department has instituted curbside triage before accessing Emergency Services, Kuczka said. Patients driving in should park in the designated emergency check-in parking spot under the ambulance bay and call the registrar phone number listed on the sign. Once checked in and screened, a nurse will come out to assess/triage and give further instructions.

“If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911,” she said. “As always, the Emergency Department is ready 24/7 to serve you and care for our community.”

Outpatient (non-COVID) lab testing

Non-COVID-19 lab testing is available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drive-up lab testing is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents are asked to park in one of the designated parking spots by Outpatient Services and call the number to register. A lab tech will come out and take the needed samples at your car, Kuczka said.

Visitor restrictions in place

All patients, visitors and staff are screened (including temperature checks) upon entering. Everyone must wear a mask while in the facility, Kuczka said.

BCH promotes social distancing “Western style” and asks that everyone maintain a 6-foot distance — the average size of a bear — from each other.

The BCH COVID-19 Task Force stays connected with Boundary County Emergency Management, County officials, Panhandle Health District, local hospitals and health care facilities as well as State agencies.

“We are always analyzing the current information, sharing our concerns and needs with other facilities, all while maintaining the healthcare needs of our community during this pandemic,” said Boundary Community Hospital CEO Preston Becker. “As a community hospital, we strive to provide the highest quality healthcare with compassion and respect. I am encouraged by the innovative thinking, the constant assessment, and desire to do what is best for the patient that is part of our daily discussions.”