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Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

How Walla Walla Clinic Is Managing the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 is impacting how we all live, work, and stay healthy. There is a lot of information about this virus, often changing rapidly. The Walla Walla Clinic is here to help you navigate this crisis and help you and your family stay healthy.

In accordance with public health guidance we’ve made some important changes to our clinic operations to keep you and our staff safe.

Changes to Upcoming Clinic Appointments

We support current guidelines to defer all non-essential appointments. Because of this we may contact you to reschedule clinic appointments that are not urgent. This includes:

  • Routine check-ups, preventive screenings, and wellness visits
  • Non-urgent specialty visits and surgical care

Telehealth Options Now Available

We recently launched opportunities for alternate types of visits. Video, email and phone visits are now being offered in many departments.

  • Many of our providers are offering video visits for patients with COVID-19 concerns. These visits are also available for patients requesting a routine follow-up or non-urgent appointment.
  • Additionally, portal email or telephone visits are also options for non-urgent appointments at this time.
  • 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 can’t be delayed or 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 urgently need.

As more people need care due to COVID-19, our clinics will become busier. If you need care, you may have to see a different provider than your primary care doctor, or you may need to be seen in a different location than you are used to being seen. Our goal is to offer all patients the care they need, when they need it, and to communicate with you so you are comfortable with your options.

Most importantly, we ask you to call first if you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath before you come into a clinic.

Elective and Non-Urgent Surgeries and Procedures Will Be Delayed

Washington State’s Governor has restricted elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to conserve limited supplies of Personal Protective Equipment. The Walla Walla Clinic will be temporarily closing our Surgery Center beginning Monday, March 30th with an expected re-opening Monday, May 18th. We will begin rescheduling as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

Limiting Visitors

If you do need to come into the clinic for care, 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. All patients or visitors deemed to be sick will be asked to wear a face mask and will be appropriately triaged. Again, to limit exposure to other patients and our staff we ask you to call first if you have any flu-like symptoms. You may reach us at 509-525-3720.

Screening Via Phone and In Clinic

Our staff are screening all patients for COVID-19 over the phone and in person based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Public Health.

Should you be tested for COVID-19?

In more than 80% of cases, symptoms are mild, don’t require testing and can be self-managed at home. Walla Walla Clinic does not currently have the capability of testing for COVID-19. The decision to test for COVID-19 should be made in consultation with your provider.

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 the closest emergency room.
    • 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.
    • Once you enter the clinic: sanitize your hands and put on a surgical mask.
  • 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.

We are committed to keeping you safe and providing the highest quality care now and always. We thank you for your flexibility and patience during these extraordinary times.