DARLINGTON – Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County, Lafayette Manor and the Lafayette County Health Department answered some questions about how each department is handling COVID-19 and other issues concerning COVID-19.
If a patient has tested positive for COVID-19 and needed hospitalization, would they be hospitalized at Lafayette Memorial or taken to Madison?
We would follow our normal transfer policy. If we can meet the patient’s need we would treat the patient here. We are able to care for any patients that we would have prior to COVID-19 pandemic; most COVID-19 patients do not require a higher level of care. If the patient’s needs would normally require transfer for a higher level of care we would attempt to transfer them. Our ability to transfer them would depend on the larger hospitals ability to accept them. MHLC has plans in place for a surge of patients locally and in the surrounding areas. As part of this plan, we have been enhancing our ability to care for patients that require a higher level of medical care. This includes increasing staff training and obtaining new equipment.
Are the clinics doing routine physicals?
The MHLC Primary Care Clinic in Darlington is presently seeing patients in person and via telemedicine. Routine visits and yearly physicals are not being performed at this time. However, medication refills, diabetic checks, 3 or 6 month follow ups on medical issues, blood pressure checks and any acute or new medical concern are important concerns and are being seen. If you have any of the above or are not sure if you should be seen at this time; please call the Primary Care Clinic in Darlington at (608) 776 -4497. A nurse will speak to you and will decide if you need to come in to the clinic or a telemedicine appointment would meet your needs. Please rest assured that we are having a separate Respiratory Clinic to see patients with respiratory issues.
Presently, only the Darlington Clinic is open. However, as we progress with the Badger Bounce Back Program progresses the Shullsburg Clinic will be open and construction is continuing on the Argyle Clinic and is on track to open early June.
Are workers at Lafayette Manor being screened for signs of COVID-19 before they are allowed to enter the facility?
Yes, everyone that enters the building is screened daily. Their temperature is taken and they are asked specific questions about respiratory symptoms. If they have symptoms they are not allowed to work and they are sent home. Staff is masked at all times while in the building.
All residents are assessed daily for any signs and symptoms or respiratory issues and their temperature is monitored daily.
Manor staff is attempting to maintain social distancing between residents, as much as they can with a dementia population.
Window visits are allowed but the window MUST remained closed. Video family visits with Zoom are also possible. To set that up you can contact the Manor Activities Department at (608) 776-4472 ext. 126.
Who is providing covid-19 testing - hospital, clinics, Lafayette County Health Department or some other body?
COVID -19 testing is performed at MHLC and the Lafayette Public Health Department is notified of all tests performed and their results. If you are having respiratory symptoms and feel that you need to be tested please call the Darlington Primary Care Clinic at (608) 776-4497. A nurse will triage you and set up an appointment in our Respiratory Clinic. We are presently separating respiratory patients from non- respiratory patients.
Is the hospital ready for something big to happen? Does the hospital have enough supplies, i.e. masks, gloves, ventilators, PPE?
We are ready. We are actively following medical treatments being recommended by health professionals in areas that have large number of patients and staying up to date with medical treatment recommendations. Prior to COVID -19 MHLC had a Surge Capacity Plan in place to see a sudden increase in patients over our 25 certified beds. We have been implementing these plans and recommendations and making changes to our normal operations so we are ready if the need arises. We have been actively increasing our supplies including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves and gowns. We have obtained extra medical equipment and medications needed to treat COVID -19. We are not short of supplies or rationing at this time.
Is the hospital eligible to be receiving funds from the federal government for COVID-19 funds, some of the $10 billion allocated for rural hospitals? If so, how much will the hospital be receiving?
MHLC received over $500,000 from the $30B provider relief funds in early April and is eligible for additional funding from the $10B allocation for rural hospitals to be distributed in the near future. At this time MHLC does not know the set dollar amount they will receive, according to US Department of Health & Human Services the funds are to be divided to rural hospitals according to their patient volumes from 2018. MHLC has also received around $100,000 from other funds, MHLC is continually researching grants and programs for additional funding.
Does the hospital have to lay off workers due to not using their services at this time?
MHLC has not laid off, furloughed, or decreased wages to any staff. MHLC is following a low census-staffing model; which includes majority of the staff are using paid time off and cross training into higher demand departments.