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Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Guidance on Face Coverings

Effective Friday, June 26, 2020 all patients, visitors, and employees will be required to wear face coverings while at our facilities. We respectfully request all patients and visitors wear their own face coverings to conserve our supply of personal protective equipment.

For more information on the use of face coverings and CDC recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19, please click on the WSDOH link below.

COVID Testing

We’re pleased to offer COVID-19 testing for both symptomatic and pre-operative patients. Pre-operative screening is currently offered 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and should be scheduled in advance. We continue to request all patients who are symptomatic or who may have been exposed to someone suspected of having COVID-19 to call your provider’s office or our Walk-In Clinic prior to visiting our facility so we can best evaluate your care needs while protecting other patients from possible exposure.

Reopening to More Services

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s encouraging to see that the changes we’ve all made as a community are working to slow the spread of this virus. Our community is preparing to gradually reopen as we transition to the next phase of this pandemic. At the Walla Walla Clinic, this means we are carefully and thoughtfully providing access to more onsite services for our patients who need them.

Following CDC and public health advice, we limited services in our clinics to essential only since mid-March. That resulted in delaying care for many of our patients. Governor Inslee’s revised May 1 guidelines for medical clinics now give providers more leeway to determine when onsite or surgical care is needed. Working together with you, providers and staff will use their clinical judgement to decide when it’s appropriate to schedule in-clinic appointments and perform elective surgeries in our Ambulatory Surgery Center. This includes elective procedures such as colonoscopies and other cancer screenings for at-risk patients.

If you have new or worsening symptoms of acute or chronic illness, please contact your provider’s office to discuss the appropriate next steps for you, whether it’s an in-clinic or video appointment. You may need to be seen in person if your illness or injury is causing pain or dysfunction in your daily life or work, or if your condition is either progressing or at risk of progressing and compromising your health.

Our Singular Focus on Safety

Keeping patients, staff, and providers safe is our top priority. If you do need to come into the clinic to see your provider, or have lab or diagnostic testing performed onsite, we want to reassure you that we have comprehensive safety measures in place including:

  • Screening all patients over the phone and at check-in based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Public Health.
  • Screening of all staff and providers
  • Masking for all patients, visitors, and staff
  • Rigorous cleaning protocols and frequent disinfecting of high-touch surfaces
  • Adapting our sites to accommodate physical distancing
  • Continuing to limit non-patient visitors to our facilities (see below)
  • Scheduled appointments for lab and radiology testing

About Your Visit

You may notice some changes when you come in to see us. You will receive a check-in email with screening questions before you arrive. Our Patient Service Representatives will greet you at the check-in desk and ask about any recent symptoms of respiratory infection including fever. This takes extra time and you should set aside a few extra minutes before your appointment to allow for this. We have also modified our waiting rooms and public areas to allow for more physical distancing. We request all patients and visitors wear their own mask while in our office to conserve limited supplies of Personal Protective Equipment for our staff and certain procedures.

Most importantly, we ask you to call first if you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath before you come into a clinic. You may reach us at 509-525-3720.

We appreciate your patience as we all adapt to our new environment.

Telehealth Options

We continue to rely on telehealth services, both video visits or telephone visits, to address many health concerns—from management of chronic issues to medication follow-up appointments and even behavioral health consults. Telehealth helps us reduce the number of people in the clinic and maintain physical distancing that is critical to reducing the spread of infectious disease.

  • Most insurances are covering these alternative visits at this time. You will want to contact your insurance provider to make sure that your policy will cover video, email or phone appointments.
  • If you’d like to schedule a video, email or phone visit to talk with a provider about your symptoms, call us at 509-525-3720.

Some appointments must be done in person. We know you might have concerns about coming into a health care facility at this time. We want to assure you we are doing everything possible to reduce your risk of exposure and keep you safe while delivering the care you need.

Limiting Visitors

We are limiting visitors who accompany patients in the following way:

  • Patients are allowed one adult support person
  • Children needing care may be accompanied by up to two parents, guardians, or their power of attorney.
  • Patients who need assistance making decisions may be accompanied by their power of attorney.
  • Patients who require assistance getting to their appointments may be accompanied by a caregiver.

All patients and visitors will continue to be screened upon entering our facilities. Again, to limit exposure to other patients and our staff we ask you to call first if you have any COVID-related symptoms.

COVID-19 Resources Update

This worldwide pandemic has challenged us all. It’s also demanded we adapt and keep moving forward. We’re grateful to you for your flexibility and understanding in this challenging time. And we want to thank you for your continued support and encouragement, especially for our frontline care teams who have worked tirelessly to provide exceptional care throughout this crisis.

How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Family

  • Watch for symptoms. They can appear 2-14 days after you’ve been exposed. They may include:
    • Runny nose
    • Cough
    • Fatigue
    • Fever over 100.4
    • Trouble breathing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath
  • Call us if you think you have symptoms and need care. Talk with your doctor or a medical professional. They can help you determine how to get care while protecting yourself and others. You may reach us at 509-525-3720.
  • If your symptoms are serious or worsening: continued fever, severe shortness of breath.
    • We may ask you to come in for evaluation or we may refer you to a more appropriate location for testing.
    • If we do schedule an appointment, we ask that you remain in your car once you arrive at the clinic and call your provider’s office to let them know you’re ready to be seen. They will confirm when to come into the clinic for your visit. Please ensure you are wearing a mask prior to entering our facility.
    • Once you enter the clinic: sanitize your hands.
  • Protect yourself and others:
    • Stay home, if you can, and practice social distancing
    • If you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others
    • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer with a 60% or higher alcohol content.