KLAWOCK – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the Alicia Roberts Medical Center (ARMC) in Klawock have been proactively planning a response ahead of the coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching Prince of Wales Island (POW). ARMC remains in continuous contact with the local agencies and leaders, including the mayors of Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Thorne Bay, and Kasaan, as well as Tribal Administrators and SEARHC leadership, to collaborate and consolidate pandemic-related information. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on POW.
Changes in service have been implemented at ARMC to limit patient contact, and plans are in place should a COVID-19 case be confirmed in the community. Clinic appointments can now be hosted virtually, by phone or video. On-site visits are scheduled only for urgent or emergent cases utilizing services that cannot be completed virtually. For patients needing prescriptions filled, please call ahead before coming to ARMC, as there is now a prescription delivery service within Craig and Klawock.
COVID-19 tests are available at the clinic to those who meet the symptomatic guidelines – currently fever and cough, or shortness of breath – regardless of travel or exposure criteria. Patients are screened for COVID-19 via drive-through visits outside of the clinic to prevent exposure. Normal channels of care remain in place across the Consortium, but should you require levels of care beyond what can be provided at ARMC, SEARHC will arrange transport to Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center in Sitka, or another healthcare facility to provide the necessary level of care.
“We are coordinating with SEARHC Leadership and local community agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, patients, and all community members,” said Joyce Moore, Health Services Administrator. “To prepare our communities, we have increased accessibility of COVID-19 testing, updated staff training for crisis response, and coordinated with local EMS and Public Health to erect a Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) mobile hospital for possible COVID-19 surge on POW.”
SEARHC recommends that patients remain home if sick. Patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, or those who are immune-compromised, should contact their provider immediately if they become ill. Please adhere to the CDC preventive methods to deter respiratory disease, including washing your hands thoroughly and often, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects, and getting a flu shot.
For more information on the novel coronavirus, visit covid19.searhc.org or call the SEARHC COVID-19 Hotline at 907.966.8799 to speak to a representative during normal business hours. If you need to speak to a registered nurse after-hours, call the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560.