As COVID-19 cases increase in the community, Benewah Community Hospital wants to remind the community members what to do if they think they are COVID positive.

The hospital’s staff asks those who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or those who are COVID positive to not enter the clinic or other parts of the hospital. Instead patients are asked to call upon arrival to the hospital and a nurse will be able to come and meet patients in their vehicle in the hospital parking lot.

Common symptoms that BCH says to look out for are shortness of breath, cough, fever, loss of taste and smell.

“We are doing our best to limit exposure by not having COVID/ suspected COVID patients standing in the line for the front door screener.” executive assistant Becca Plante said. “Our goal is to protect our patients and our staff by minimizing COVID exposure.”

With the increase in cases being recorded at the hospital, Plante said the hospital is seeing changes to the severity of the illness as well as the age groups being affected.

“We are seeing a large increase in COVID positive cases at BCH. With this increase, we are seeing much sicker patients, a decrease in age (most are between the ages of 50-70), and a much higher incidence of patients needing treatment in the Emergency Room and/or admitted to the hospital,” Plante said.

BCH staff also want to remind the public that the hospital can schedule telehealth appointments for those who don’t feel well enough to visit the hospital in person. Those who are experiencing severe symptoms should still seek emergency help.

“If you are ill with COVID and experiencing severe shortness of breath and/or low oxygen saturation- please do not wait to come to the Emergency Room,” Plante said. “If you are unable to drive or have someone drive you, please call 911 and request an ambulance. Please let the dispatch office know you are COVID positive.”

She also said the hospital does have ways to treat symptoms early and those who are COVID positive should not hesitate to seek help.

“We do have treatments available for our patients that can help with COVID-19 symptoms if treated early,” Plante said. “If you are concerned about your oxygen saturation and do not have a way to measure it at home, please don’t hesitate to call the Emergency Department, and we would be happy to do an oxygen saturation check (free of charge) for you in the Emergency Department parking lot.”

As of August 24 – 27, BCH has had 21 positive COVID cases. To date, BCH has resulted a total of 497 positive COVID cases within the community and surrounding areas.

To schedule an appointment call 208-245-5551. In the case of an emergency call 911.

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