County-wide screening for virus at clinic in Blanding
Screening tests for the COVID-19 virus will take place at a single staging area in Blanding, at the Blanding Family Practice.
Local health care organizations, including Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS), Blue Mountain Hospital, and San Juan Health, are working together at the site, located at the new UNHS Clinic, west of Blue Mountain Hospital.
The purpose of the screening is to determine whether patients with potential coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should be tested for COVID-19, or should be seen in a clinic setting, seen in the ER, or should be sent home to self-quarantine.
Actual tests for the virus can take place at hospitals and clinics across the county.
The decision to initiate this single staging area was made in the interest of public safety and improving the efficiency of the various health care entities in the Blanding area, according to UNHS Chief Operations Officer Byron Clarke.
“This staging area helps to facilitate, as much as possible, the recommendation to practice social distancing while at the same time meeting the healthcare needs of the residents in our community,” said Jimmy Johnson, Chief Operations Officer for San Juan Health.
All facilities plan to make extensive use of telehealth devices. UNHS will use Chiron Health and San Juan Health will use Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant.
Patients will find it useful to download these apps in advance of any appointments. Make sure the clinic has a correct phone number and email on file.
Residents and visitors of the Blanding area can present themselves at the large tent that will be set up at 910 South 300 West. Here, a team of healthcare professionals will screen individuals to determine if they need to see a provider or if they need to be tested for coronavirus.
Because the number of test kits is limited, only those who meet certain criteria will be referred to a physician for coronavirus testing. All others will be screened, treated as needed, and/or sent home and advised to self-quarantine.
Officials ask those with mild fevers or mild coughs, and others who do not have symptoms for the coronavirus, to stay home and avoid exposure. Those who are asymptomatic cannot be tested at this time.
Routine and non-urgent visits to UNHS will be postponed until April 20. This includes dental, vision, chiropractic, and many medical visits that aren’t a high priority. All UNHS must be pre-screened outside.
This screening process is a collaborative effort between the three health care entities, along with UNHS Public Health and San Juan Public Health.
Blue Mountain Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Lyman noted, “We are grateful for our healthcare partners and appreciate the collaborative nature of our relationship.”
All residents should remember the basic guidelines for helping avoid the coronavirus illness. Wash your hands regularly (for 20 seconds at a time), avoid contact with anyone who is sick, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick or anyone in your home is sick. If you are over 60, have an underlying or chronic illness, or both, stay home if at all possible.