Cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County and surrounding counties have increased dramatically in the past two weeks. Jefferson County has had 157 new positive diagnoses in that time, meaning more than half of the county’s current total of 242 cases (as of Sunday, Nov. 15) have been confirmed in just the past few weeks. Jefferson County has had one death caused by COVID, and has a number of residents hospitalized and seriously ill with COVID.
Public health officials believe that with the current trend, ALL hospital beds in the state will be full in about 3 weeks.
“This brings us great concern that we might not be able to transfer a patient who is seriously ill with any health concern – COVID or otherwise,” said Burke Kline, DHA, JCH&L CEO. “We MUST do the right things to protect our patients, our hospital beds, and our community.”
Public Health Solutions District Health Department currently has all five counties in our public health district in the red, or severe, zone on their risk dial.
Because of these concerns, JCH&L and its various services will be making some changes effective Tuesday, Nov. 17. Everyone entering JCH&L facilities will continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and is required to mask.
JCH&L Fairbury Clinic
*JCH&L Fairbury Clinic is postponing physicals.
*Fairbury Clinic will see patients who need to be seen for followup for chronic conditions in the mornings, and will see patients who have health concerns other than COVID/respiratory (and have no more than one COVID symptom) in the afternoons.
*Clinic patients are asked to bring no more than one other person with them to their appointment, if needed for assistance.
*Patients who will be seen in the clinic will be asked to wait in their vehicle until their appointment, rather than in the waiting room.
*Virtual visits or telephone visits will be encouraged at the Fairbury Clinic for all who are able to use them.
*Patients with COVID symptoms will not be seen inside the clinic. The patients will be advised of the location of their visit when they make the appointment.
*Plymouth Clinic is closed until further notice.
JCH&L Outpatient Services
*Outpatient clinics are still being held, but staff will be working to reduce numbers, try not to have as many patients waiting at once, ask patients to wait in their cars as they are able, and will spread patients out around waiting areas that are available.
*All receiving services are asked to bring no more than one other person with them to their appointment, if needed for assistance.
*At this time, procedures that do not require an overnight stay will still be offered. Procedures which require an overnight stay will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
*JCH&L is decreasing visitors to hospital patients to one per day. (This could be different visitors on different days at this time.) End of life visitation will be at the discretion of the medical provider.
JCH&L Sports Medicine and Rehab Services
*JCH&L Sports Medicine and Rehab Services will continue seeing patients as needed.
JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center
*JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center will be closed as of Tuesday, Nov. 17, to members and guests.
*Support groups for both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease remain on hold.
*Currently only closed window visitation is allowed at Gardenside.
*At this time, other services – such as lab and radiology — are still being scheduled.
*Sterling Connection Christmas party (which was to be a movie at the Bonham Theatre) is cancelled.
*Patients for all services and all visitors continue to be screened. Hospital or clinic patients with positive screening results will be cared for appropriately and given guidance and direction.
*Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 must call for screening over the telephone before arriving at any medical facility.
*JCH&L medical providers are sending a memo to Jefferson County churches recommending they meet virtually only for at least the next several weeks.
*JCH&L is supporting a local mask mandate.
*JCH&L continues to offer free TestNebraska screening times. Test Nebraska screenings are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Friday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 1, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Friday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 8, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; and Friday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
*JCH&L also has other testing options available when providers order a COVID test.
*Important note about isolation and quarantine. If you have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are REQUIRED BY LAW to quarantine for 14 days. You could develop symptoms as late as the 14th day after exposure. If you develop symptoms, you are REQUIRED to isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms begin and until symptoms resolve. For some, isolation may last up to 21 days. If you do not comply, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined. These regulations are to help stop the spread of COVID-19.