KEARNEY — This city’s two hospitals are ramping up testing measures for COVID-19.
CHI Health Good Samaritan is doing testing by appointment in an isolated area inside the CHI Health Kearney Clinic at 211 W. 33rd St. People who have symptoms of COVID-19 may find reliable information at chihealth.com/coronavirus. If they then want to be tested, they should call their primary provider. Those without a provider may call 308-865-2141 to make a testing appointment.
Good Sam hopes to begin analyzing test results on site in the near future, according to Good Sam President Mike Schnieders, but no date has been announced.
Currently, tests are couriered to CHI Health’s laboratory in Omaha. The lab has the capacity to complete 180-270 tests per day with a 24- to 48-hour turnaround. The lab’s protocols for testing align closely with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s and the state’s guidelines of first testing those most at risk while waiting for more test kits to become available.
Kearney Regional Medical Center is doing COVID-19 screening and testing in the hospital, according to Amanda Polacek, KRMC marketing coordinator. Tests are sent to the Public Health Lab in Omaha.
People who think they may have COVID-19 should contact their primary provider. If they do not have one, they can call Platte Valley Medical Center at 308-865-2141 to speak to a nurse.
COVID-19 tests also are being done by appointment behind Family Practice, 620 E. 25th St. That number is 308-865-2767. Tests are processed at Good Sam and sent to the Omaha-CHI Health Laboratory. However, only high-risk people and those showing at least two symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and gastrointestinal complaints) are being tested currently, said Kyle Myers, a Family Practice physician.
Test supplies continue to be in short supply statewide, but according to a statement issued Sunday by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, “Testing pipelines are opening wider by the day, but supply chain issues could arise, including nasopharyngeal swabs, viral transport media, personal protective equipment for those collecting the swabs, and lab reagents required for extraction, processing and testing.”
Both hospitals in Kearney have enacted the following policies regarding COVID-19:
Since Saturday, Kearney Regional Medical Center’s Hospital Incident Command Systems team has enacted several additional COVID-19 preventative measures:
- Limited visitors to only one support person for labor/delivery patients, NICU babies and pediatric patients (and other extenuating circumstances).
- All direct patient care staff must wear a surgical mask for their entire shift to ensure that any possible unknown COVID-19 exposure would be deemed “low risk.”
- The hospital has altered its patient placement to separate patients with respiratory symptoms and infectious diseases from other inpatients.
- Physicians are working with patients to determine the need for any essential, emergency or urgent procedures currently scheduled.
KRMC also is following guidelines of the Directed Health Measure that Gov. Pete Ricketts put into effect at 10 p.m. Tuesday in Buffalo County and six other counties in the Two Rivers Public Health Department after Buffalo County recorded its first community-spread case of COVID-19.
“Surgeries or procedures that must be done to preserve the patient’s life or physical health, but do not need to be performed immediately, are allowed by a case-by-case determination of the medical provider,” said KRMC CEO Bill Calhoun. “We are requiring physicians to complete documentation to support the essential need of any planned surgery or procedure.”
At Good Sam, only the 24/7 emergency room entrance is open. No visitors are allowed to visit patients except:
- Labor/delivery (limited to one labor partner);
- NICU and postpartum infant (limited to two parents/guardians);
- Pediatric/minor patient (limited to one parent/guardian);
- Dependent adult needing special assistance from a support person (as determined by the care team);
- Patient receiving end-of-life care (number to be determined by the care team);
All visitors, and support persons meeting the criteria, will be screened for COVID-19 before entering. CHI Health is encouraging the public to use Skype, FaceTime and/or phone calls instead of visiting.
Good Sam has postponed all non-urgent surgeries and procedures.
“We have been planning and working tirelessly to ensure our community stays safe,” Schnieders said.