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HHC Doctor Shares Local SEARHC COVID-19 Response Plans

HAINES – The Haines Health Center (HHC), part of the SEARHC Care Network, has been proactively planning a response ahead of the coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching the community of Haines. HHC remains in continued contact with the City and Borough of Haines and Haines EMS as part of the local Incident Command System. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Haines.

Changes in service have been implemented at HHC to limit non-emergent patient contact. The majority of clinic appointments are now hosted virtually, by phone or video, or completed as a home visit for some elders. Emergent patients continue to be seen on site at HHC.

COVID-19 tests are available at the tent in the HHC parking lot, to those who meet the current symptomatic guidelines- currently fever and cough, or shortness of breath- regardless of travel or exposure criteria. COVID-19 testing is available by appointment.

HHC has one negative pressure isolation room and is in the process of constructing a second. There are two ventilators available on-site. The HHC clinical staff has been performing weekly drills to prepare for a confirmed case. Should you require levels of care beyond what can be provided at HHC, SEARHC will arrange transport to a hospital facility to provide the necessary level of care.

Dr. Lylith Widmer, HHC Medical Director, shared HHC’s preparation plans with the community at the recent Town Hall meeting. She would like to express her gratitude to all residents of the Chilkat Valley for the sacrifices they are making in their efforts to self-isolate. Dr. Widmer urges everyone to adhere to the CDC guidance regarding continued social distancing, thorough hand washing, and wearing cloth masks in public.

SEARHC recommends that patients remain home if sick. Patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, or immune compromise, should contact their provider immediately if they become ill.

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.