As Montanans phase back into a “new” normal, healthcare is looking different than before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Three area medical facilities offer case studies in how the coronavirus has changed the face of health care.

Sidney Health Center, Trinity Health and Glendive Medical Center are taking every precaution possible to ensure their patients and staff are safe. The mutual goal is to prevent the spread of COVID and non-COVID diseases and viruses without disrupting patients’ lives or their routine visits.

Masks and Social Distancing

Patients and staff are required to wear masks at each of these facilities. All of them stress the importance of people bringing their own face covering to wear. Why?

“Every mask that visitors bring, is one less mask depleted from our supply for our healthcare workers,” stated Karim Tripodina, Director of Marketing and Community Relations at Trinity Health.

“Mandatory masking is a critical step in protecting patients, visitors, and staff,” Tripodina added.

Rita Steinbeisser, Senior Marketing Executive with Sidney Health Center, pointed to best practices recommended by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention for why face masks make sense for everyone who visits a health-care facility.

“According to the CDC, cloth face coverings provide an extra layer of protection to help prevent the spread of infectious disease, like COVID-19,” Steinbeisser stated. “When everyone wears a mask and practices good hygiene, it reduces the likelihood of spreading infectious disease. This is true for the common cold, flu, and COVID-19.”

Glendive Medical Procedures

Jaime Shanks, Foundation and Marketing Director with the Glendive Medical Center succinctly explained the procedures people should anticipate when visiting the Glendive health-care facility.

“Patients can expect symptom and temperature checks upon arrival,” Shanks stated. Masks are provided if they do not have one of their own. Masks are not required on babies or children younger than 2 years old because of danger of suffocation.”

Each of these locations is following CDC guidelines and practices and encourages social distancing. Visitors and patients are encouraged to keep an eye out for special instructions as they enter these facilities.

Sidney Health Same-Day Clinic

Sidney Health has transitioned the Walk-In Clinic to the Same-Day Clinic. By calling ahead, individuals can schedule a time for the same-day instead of appearing in-person without an appointment. This gives staff an opportunity to screen individuals over the phone and instruct them how to proceed in seeking care — depending on their symptoms.

Sidney Health Patients are encouraged to call 406-488-3963 prior to arrival.

Health Care Matters

Each of the three health-care facilities listed in this article remained open during the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each continued to see patients of all ages for primary care.

Tessah Richardson, Regional Director of Trinity Health-Western Dakota in Williston, affirmed that the facility doubled-down on its efforts to ensure everyone — including staff — were cared for.

“We continued to provide well child visits, necessary pre-ops, physicals, and medication and diabetic reviews,” Richardson stated. “We made sure all precautions were in place and patients were notified prior to their visit.”

Sidney Health relayed that the facility and staff are “open and ready to care for people living and working in the MonDak region.”

Sidney Health follows all national, state and local guidelines to protect their patients, residents and staff, Steinbeisser stated. The mission remains the same: Help people achieve their highest level of health and well-being.

“As an organization, we are committed to treating COVID and non-COVID patient populations as we rebuild our service lines including lab and radiology testing as well as clinic visits and surgical procedures,” stated Steinbeisser. “As always, preventative measures, chronic disease management, timely medical treatment and surgical care remains important and necessary.”

Trinity Health Recommendations

• Continue social distancing.

• Wear a mask or face covering in stores, doctor’s offices, and all public settings where other people are present.

• Stay at home if you are sick.

• Cover coughs and sneezes.

• Continue to clean and disinfect surfaces often.

• Clean hands frequently, washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

• Monitor and self-isolate if you have symptoms; if they worsen to the point of concern seek an appointment with your doctor or go to your nearest Emergency Room

The MonDak region, including Richland County, has an impressively low number of predominant positive-tested COVID-19 cases, it is sometimes difficult to comprehend the seriousness and impact of the disease.

MonDak residents can rest comfortable, however, knowing these healthcare centers are taking all precautionary measures to ensure the health and well being of their staff, visitors and patients.

In fact, people may be pleasantly surprised by how efficient, friendly and extra careful staff are at these medical facilities today. The “new” normal in health care throughout Richland County and the surrounding MonDak region is really quite impressive.

For up-to-date coronavirus data and links to the CDC, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), and Johns Hopkins University visit “COVID-19 by the Numbers”:

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