FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2020
Contact: Reba Lean, Public Relations Manager
Nome, Alaska – In an effort to safeguard and minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to the region’s villages, NSHC will be temporarily changing how it does medical visits from Nome to the villages. These visits, which have typically been done on site will be converted to telemedicine visits. These changes are in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting patients. The changes will be effective now until April 30th, when the situation will be reassessed.
This will include the following:
- Routine physician village trips will be converted to telemedicine visits
- BHS on-site visits will be converted to telemedicine visits
- Optometry, Audiology, and Physical Therapy on-site visits will be converted to telemedicine visits
- Dental village trips will be canceled through April 30th. Nome and Savoonga dental clinics will remain open with regular staffing and hours. Elective appointments will be canceled, but urgent dental visits will continue. Urgent dental issues in the villages will also continue through telemedicine. These changes are consistent with current Indian Health Service recommendations.
- All other village medical care in the region not mentioned here, will continue as usual. All village clinics and the Nome clinic will remain open with full staffing and hours.
Also, in an effort to limit exposure to our highest risk patients in the villages, the following recommendations are being put in place in regards to medical travel from area Villages to Nome:
- We will be limiting non-emergent medical travel from the villages to Nome for patients over 60 years of age. This will be determined by their physician on a case-by-case basis
- We will be limiting non-emergent medical travel from the village to Nome for patients who are immunocompromised. This will be determined by their physician on a case-by-case basis
- All other medical trips from the villages to Nome, such as prenatal visits, will continue as usual.
In Nome at the Norton Sound Regional Hospital, most departments are still operating regularly. Quyanna Care Center and Acute Care are closed to visitors, with exception to those who receive permission from the nursing managers. Patients may still make appointments to be seen in the Primary Care Clinic and may utilize the Emergency Department as needed. Patients in Nome and in the village who are experiencing symptoms and have questions may call the Nurse Call Line at 907-443-6411.