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alert centerpiece
More to healthcare than COVID-19

REGION — Life continues despite stay-at home-orders, which means falls, accidents and illnesses can happen.

Healthcare providers are doing what they can to help those with everyday medical needs like allergy prescription refills and other medical needs while ensuring they and their clients stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an emergency situation, hospitals and EMTs are ready and available for the public. Valerie Weller, marketing and communication coordinator for Canyon Vista Medical Center (CVMC), said their emergency department is operating as normal with precautions in place. “Our emergency room takes care of people, no matter what,” she said. “The emergency room is still seeing patients.”

Weller added that in the case of an emergency patients should follow “check-in” signs leading to doors in the ambulance bay, to the left of the main ER entrance, so they enter the ER directly instead of going through different areas of the hospital, potentially contaminating other areas. She also said anyone who enters the emergency room will be screened based on what brings them to the hospital.

EMTs have implemented precautions when going on calls but are still transporting those who need to be hospitalized to CVMC. Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Services Chief Brian Jones said they are responding to calls and moving patients to the hospital as they have been.

“We’re being precautions and following CDC guidelines,” he said.

Jones said all EMTs were required to wear eye protection and gloves when responding to calls prior to COVID-19. In addition to gloves and eye protection, local EMTs must also wear masks and in some instances wear a gown for protections.

EMTs are provided information from dispatchers, who Jones said have received COVID-19 specific questions so the first responders know what protection measures to take and know what they are walking into.

Fry Fire District Chief Mark Savage said his crew is also taking as much caution as they can while still responding to calls, car accidents and fires. He said when answering a call to a home, his responders will have masks, gloves and eye protection to protect themselves and the patients with whom they are interacting. Savage also said all employees are screened when they arrive at the station and are told to stay home if feeling ill.

Fry Fire stations are closed to the public, in accordance with social distancing policies. They aren’t issuing any burn permits for the time being.

“The more protection we provide our people on the front line (the better),” Savage said.

As long as there is space in local emergency rooms and the patient has a strong need to go to the hospital, they will transport patients after doing field triage.

For non-emergency cases, local doctor’s offices are keeping their doors and phone lines open to help the community.

Lenzner Medical Services is keeping their doors open to their patients. Those who are healthy can see their doctor by appointment. Their patients who have symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 should also contact the office for an appointment. On Monday, the facility opened an “inflatable clinic” outside their office for those with flu-like symptoms (dry cough, shortness of breath or fever).

Jessica Weber, a receptionist at the office, said their patients should make an appointment before coming and when they arrive they are to call the building from their vehicle and someone will come out to them. ”They have to meet 70 percent of the symptoms to be tested (for COVID-19),” Weber said. ”They have to meet 70 percent of the symptoms to be tested (for COVID-19),” Weber said.

Herald/Review Media was not given the exact symptoms Weber referred to because the office manager was unavailable with the information. Messages have been left with her from the Herald/ReviewHerald/Review Media was not given the exact symptoms Weber referred to because the office manager was unavailable with the information. Messages have been left with her from the Herald/Review. The “inflatable clinic” has had 5 to 10 visitors everyday it’s been open, Weber said. Chiricahua Community Health Centers and Copper Queen Community Hospital Rural Health Clinics are also limiting who comes through their doors but are using telehealth to provide care while limiting human contact for the safety of their employees and patients. Emily Vickers, public relations specialist for Chiricahua, said in the two weeks they have offered telehealth appointments they have had nearly 1,500 appointments that way. She said that number is expected to grow with their increase in patient numbers. ”We tried to make this as easy as possible since this is so new,” Vickers said. “We just need them to call or text and we’ll do the rest.” Chiricahua telehealth appointments are available for all of their services and is required before an in-person appointment is made, which can happen if the doctor sees the need.

Jessica Ogiba, chief public relations officer for CQCH, said patients can call the rural health clinic and set up a telehealth appointment that way. She said they hope to add a video component to that by the end of next week.

For more information or to set up an appointment call the respective locations.