Sanford Health provides local insight to COVID-19

Sanford Health Bemidji expanded visitor restrictions for senior living campuses in response to the sustained increase of COVID-19 cases across the Midwest.

Only essential visitors will be permitted to enter at Sanford Bemidji Neilson Place, Trillium, Windsong and Baker Park.

Group activities will also be restricted, and all individuals entering the buildings will be screened, and entry will be restricted to those with respiratory symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19.

All who enter these senior living complexes will be required to wash their hands or use sanitizer at the entry.

Patients for any other Sanford facility should contact Sanford before coming in to any healthcare facility if they have been in close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, recently traveled from an area with widespread community transmission, or developed symptoms of the illness with those two other factors.

Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches and chills, and usually occur within two to 14 days after exposure. 

Sanford says they’re following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of the virus.

Following the advice of the CDC, Sanford encourages community members to keep themselves and others healthy by:

·         Staying home if they are sick with a fever in the last 24 hours

·         Limiting close contact with others if they are sick

·         Washing hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

·         Covering a cough or sneeze with their sleeve

·         Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

·         Avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth

·         Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

The CDC says the virus is spreading mainly from person-to-person contact, similar to other coronaviruses, like influenza. The virus is more likely to affect people who experience prolonged, close contact (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by touching objects that a person with the illness touched.

Those who have social contact for a short duration with a confirmed or probable case in a non-hospital setting, like in a community or workplace setting, have a low risk of being exposed to the virus.

Facemasks are not necessary for healthy members of the general public. The CDC does not recommend individuals who are well wear a facemask. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms as well as family members and health care workers who are caring for these patients.

“Though the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak is still low in our region, at this time, it is important that we are ready if this outbreak reaches us,” said Susan Jarvis, President and CEO of Sanford Bemidji. “Sanford Health continues to work closely with regional and federal health officials to adjust our response plans as the situation progresses.”

To ask additional questions regarding COVID-19, call the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline, (651) 201-3920, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For ongoing updates and resources regarding travel, preparations and prevention, also consult the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed four more cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, bringing the total to nine as of today.

Sanford Health confirmed today that there are currently no cases as of 9 a.m. this morning in this region.

They also say they have COVID-19 tests available at all primary clinic and hospital locations.

Sanford says they have current action plans in place to address smaller volumes of cases.

Stacey Kalson, Sanford Health Bemidji’s Community Specialist, says Sanford is evolving plans in the event of an influx of COVID-19 testing and confirmed cases.

Featured photo: Coronavirus illustration, provided by the CDC.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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