GUSTAVUS– The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the Gustavus Clinic have been proactively planning a response ahead of the coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching the community of Gustavus. The Gustavus Clinic remains in continuous contact with the City of Gustavus and the Fire Department as part of the local Incident Command Team. Changes in service have been implemented at the clinic to limit patient contact, and plans are in place should a COVID-19 case be confirmed in the community. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gustavus.
Clinic appointments can now be hosted virtually, by phone or video, or completed as a home visit, if appropriate. On-site visits are scheduled only for those that are COVID-19 symptom-free and screen negative, or those urgent or emergent cases utilizing services that cannot be completed virtually or in-home.
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 Gustavus Clinic, SEARHC will arrange transport to Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center in Sitka, or another healthcare facility to provide the necessary level of care.
“We have a variety of volunteers and community members who are helping their neighbors by picking up mail, dropping off groceries, and checking in with certain individuals on a regular basis,” said Nurse Practitioner Lisa LaGrange. “The community involvement has been a great help, and will be a huge contribution if any incidence of COVID-19 does occur in Gustavus.”
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.