Mille Lacs Health System is continuing its preparation and training to deal with the COVID-19 situation in the Mille Lacs area. As of Monday, March 30, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mille Lacs County.

Both the Long Term Care (nursing home) and Lake Song Assisted Living are closed to all visitors. A process is being developed in the nursing home so families can communicate with their loved ones “virtually.”

As of Monday, March 30, all staff in all clinics and departments will be screened for fever and cough prior to entering their workspaces.

The cafeteria is closed to the public.

MLHS initiated TeleHealth last week, giving patients the option of meeting face-to-face with a provider via FaceTime or Skype. Other patients, if they would rather call in normally on a phone to speak with their providers, can do that, however, those calls will generally be to enable quick visits between the provider and an established patient to determine whether the patient should be seen at the clinic or hospital. “And if patients feel they need to see their provider, we’re okay with that too,” said Dr. Tom Bracken. “We want to be able to give people options and help them know that we’re here to care for them however they want to connect with us.” Patients needing any type of appointment should call the regular facility line (320-532-3154) to make an appointment as they normally would. Instructions for TeleHealth visits can be found on the website.

AT MLHS, actual testing for COVID-19 occurs typically after a phone call to the MLHS COVID-19 Nurse Hotline (320-532-2989). The nurse will discuss symptoms with the patient and if those symptoms meet testing criteria, the person will be directed where to go to receive their test. Tests are being done “curbside” in a designated MLHS parking area on the Onamia campus.

This is a fast-changing situation and updates on the COVID-19 response and MLHS’s most recent communications regarding this can be found on the health system’s website.

Reminder: Most testing unless for diagnostic (emergency) purposes will be suspended at this time. The limited tests include mammography, ultrasounds, and MRI.

MLHS COO and Incident Commander Kim Kucera said that the emergency response team has a list of objectives regarding the ongoing action plan. Those are: ensuring the safety of all employees, patients, and residents; mitigating the risk of exposure and transmission; being prepared to meet an influx of patients; utilizing TeleHealth visits; creating an “all hands on deck” work protocol to support efforts by the health care team; ensuring financial health and recovery; and having safe and effective communications. “Change is happening fast and it’s happening every day,” said Kucera. “MLHS is preparing; conducting drills; and planning every step, big and small.”

No current known cases in Mille Lacs

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