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COVID-19 Q&A with Star Valley Health

◆ Local hospital is utilizing its resources to meet local COVID-19 needs.

By Sarah Hale and
Dan Dockstader
SVI Media

Author’s Note: SVI Media had a question and answer session with Star Valley Health recently relating to COVID-19. See below.

What are the COVID-19 testing capabilities at Star Valley Health?
Star Valley Health has three COVID-19 testing locations where patients can be swabbed and tests can be collected. These locations are at our clinic located at 230 Elk Run in Alpine, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Friday; and in Afton on the main hospital campus at the corner of Adams Street and Hospital Lane, Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Star Valley Health also has a testing location in Lyman, Wyoming, where we manage the Bridger Valley Urgent Care.

The majority of test collections are returned to Afton and run by our Star Valley Health Lab staff at the hospital. Thanks in part to Lincoln County Public Health, Star Valley Health has been fortunate to have a relatively solid supply chain for test collection materials and the equipment and supplies to run the majority of the tests here locally.

Star Valley Health also has the in-house capability to do the anti-body testing for patients who may have had COVID-19 and have recovered.

What are we doing with COVID patients now? Those who need hospitalization, can we take them in at Star Valley Health or are they transferred to another facility?
The majority of the patients who test positive for COVID-19 are able to self-quarantine at their residence. These patients are contacted by Star Valley Health each day and symptoms are tracked until the patient recovers.

For those patients who need a higher level of hospital care, Star Valley Health has seen them in the Emergency Room and made arrangements for them to be transferred to a nearby facility in Idaho or Utah for the higher level of care they require.

Star Valley Health is fortunate to have partners in the region who are currently willing to care for the more ill patients and have dedicated infectious disease units. These referral relationships also allow Star Valley Health to maintain its full capacity to care for all other surgical and medical patients.

Of course, this scenario may change and Star Valley Health is prepared to provide care to patients with COVID-19 if necessary. In the event that our regional partners are unable to accept COVID-19 related transfers from Star Valley Health, several hospital rooms are prepared to accommodate more serious positive patients.

What would it take to be prepared for COVID patients, in terms of secured rooms and air tight areas?
Star Valley Health does currently have several “Negative Air Pressure Isolation Rooms” that are prepared to care for patients with COVID-19 and other similar respiratory illnesses.

Star Valley Health staff is well trained in the use of personal protective equipment for staff and patients. Our pharmacy staff are well trained in the use of therapeutics for COVID-19 patients.

Does Star Valley Health plan to include any different plans in the future?
Star Valley Health has applied for grants through the State of Wyoming Cares Act funding in order to place additional negative air pressure rooms in needed locations throughout the hospital and Star Valley Health clinics in Star Valley. This funding would also provide some upgrades to the air exchange and humidification systems in the facility.

COVID-19 test collection buildings are being manufactured and will be located in Alpine, Afton and Bridger Valley to provide better patient and staff safety as fall weather approaches. These testing center structures will be placed where the current testing locations are.

Several other patient safety related projects are also included in this funding request.