FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Patient and employee safety remains number one priority
Nome, Alaska – NSHC is slowly opening outpatient health care services in Nome and the village clinics. If you have delayed an in-person appointment, specialty procedure, an Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) specialty visit or surgery, or any other important visit due to COVID-19, or if you are without access to telehealth, please call your health clinic to ask about scheduling an appointment. If you are 60 years of age or older and/or immunocompromised, NSHC recommends you continue to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to come into the clinic. An appointment by phone will be coordinated for you.
The safety of our patients, employees, and community members, is very important to NSHC, and the following safety precautions are in place:
- Temperature Checks: patients and staff will all be screened for temperatures upon entry at any NSHC facility (anyone who is sick will be given other instructions)
- Wearing Masks: anyone working at NSHC in any location, and all patients entering any NSHC facility will be asked to wear a mask/face covering
- Cleaning: NSHC’s dedicated Environmental Services staff continues to frequently clean high-touch surfaces
- Medication Delivery: NSHC will continue to deliver medications to patients at their front door instead of having them pick up in person at the clinic or Nome Pharmacy
- Telemedicine: NSHC has made it easier to connect with your provider from your home through telemedicine, either over the phone or through video conferencing
- Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing: anyone in the region may be tested. In Nome this will be at the walk-in testing tent in front of the hospital. In regional villages, testing will be in the village clinics
- Symptomatic COVID-19 Testing: anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should call the Primary Care Clinic at 907-443-3333 and request to be seen in the Cough and Cold Clinic. In the regional villages, patients should call their village clinic to arrange for a test
- Quarantine Lodging: NSHC coordinates the return home for any patient and honors the community leadership’s travel restrictions. NSHC has adequate quarantine housing available and is prepared to support patients for 14 days if requested
- Dental Patient Testing: since dental procedures are high-risk due to aerosolization, each patient will be tested 24 hours prior to a dental exam procedure
- Routine Patient Testing: NSHC will test all acute care admissions, QCC admissions, and other patients coming in for elective procedures
- Restriction of Visitors: NSHC continues to restrict visitors at its acute care unit, and no visitors are allowed at QCC at this time
- Closure of Cafeteria to the Public: the Fireweed Café is open to staff only, and social distancing is enforced
- Day Shelter Social Distancing: NSHC has temporarily moved the Day Shelter and will continue to operate the program in alternative locations to practice social distancing
- Summercise Social Distancing: NSHC is re-engineering the Summercise Program using feedback from the public. The program will have a delayed start and will be operated in smaller groups, practicing social distancing and mask wearing.
Additional Safety Precautions for NSHC Employees
- Mandatory Testing for Direct Patient Care Staff: NSHC will be testing direct patient care staff every 14 days
- Employees Traveling Out of Region: any employee who travels in or out of the region is required to quarantine for 14 days
- Screening for Employees: employees who are sick must stay home and will be tested.
- Asymptomatic Testing for Employees: NSHC offers asymptomatic testing for its employees every seven days
- Medical Uniforms (Scrubs) & Safety Goggles: NSHC has purchased scrubs for employees to change into while at work as a precautionary measure for infection control, and safety goggles have been purchased for frontline staff to keep them safe
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): NSHC continuously monitors its inventory of PPE to protect frontline employees. These supplies include face shields, gowns, gloves, masks, and safety glasses
Prevention Education, Testing Information, & Supplies for our Communities
- Billboards: prevention education billboards have been locally designed by an Alaska Native artist and will be installed in all communities
- Daily Tribal Leader Call: NSHC will continue to offer a daily Tribal Leader Call Monday-Friday at 11:00 am. The minutes from past calls are on NSHC’s website.
- COVID-19 K-Newsletter: distributed to all boxholders in April 2020
- Cleaning Supplies: NSHC has ordered cleaning supplies for homeowners, which will be distributed according to completed community assessments
- Daily Situation Report: NSHC will continue to publish a daily situation report to keep the region informed about testing numbers and status of tests and supplies
- Water and Sewer Advocacy: NSHC and Kawerak continue to partner with our communities to repair systems and to make progress for unserved communities