Monday, October 26, 2020
St. Luke’s Offers Drive-Through Testing as Two More Cases of Coronavirus are Announced
St. Luke’s Wood River was one of the first two hospitals in St. Luke’s Health System to open drive-through testing for the coronavirus.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020


As the third and fourth cases of coronavirus in Blaine County were announced Tuesday, St. Luke’s Wood River took on the look of a military compound.

Orange cones blocked entry points into the parking lot and security personnel screened those wanting to enter.

Yellow tape blocked the entrance to the emergency room and entry points at the south side of the hospital. And the main lobby was cordoned off in yellow tape, as well.

Most telling was the COVID-19 screen and testing tent that workers opened outside the physician’s office annex building just north of the hospital.

With four Blaine County women confirmed to have coronavirus, two of whom was hospitalized, St. Luke’s Wood River medical personnel aren’t just preparing for the coronavirus as are many Idaho health care workers. For them, it’s here.

St. Luke’s Wood River is coworking around the clock with local, regional state and national partners to address health concerns, said Carmen Jacobsen, chief operating officer and CNO at St. Luke’s Wood River.

 “We know these are rapidly changing and stressful times,” she said. “St. Luke’s Wood River is working around the clock to take care of our patients and the community, which is comprised of our families, friends and neighbors. And we are grateful to be part of St. Luke’s Health System that can assist in providing resources and support.”

Officials announced that the third positive case of coronavirus in Blaine County was that of a female over the age of 50 living in Blaine County. She is recovering at home under isolation and was not hospitalized. She began self-isolating as soon as she began feeling ill.

Investigators have not determined her point of transmission. So far, her case has not been linked with the two Blaine County cases that were confirmed on Saturday.

The fourth case, announced Tuesday evening, is a female living in Blaine County who is over the age of 80. She is recovering well in a local hospital under isolation. Her point of transmissiion also is under investigation.

The epidemiology team has been working around the clock to identify any people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 by all four cases.

“So far none of the people exposed to the virus by our first three cases have shown symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19,” said Logan Hudson, the public health director for South Central Public Health.  “But we need people to remain vigilant. If you are sick, it’s a good idea to self-isolate until you are healthy again. If you are showing symptoms of this coronavirus, call your doctor and ask if you should be evaluated for a test.”

  • The new drive-through screening station outside St. Luke’s Wood River, which was augmented by drive-through testing at St. Luke's Meridian, offers same-day appointment and screening for COVID-19.

    Just before noon on Tuesday several medical workers wearing face masks were on hand to accommodate the occupant of a car allowed to drive to the screening area. The occupant was able to stay in the car for screening and testing using nasal swabs.

    The screening station will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice. Those seeking tests must have symptoms, said Joy Prudek, public relations manager for St Luke’s Wood River. No tests are being run for asymptomatic people.

    Those who need immediate medical care for their symptoms will be directed to the Emergency Department. Others meeting testing criteria who do not require hospitalization will be sent home to self-quarantine while awaiting test results.

  • Should they become necessary, St. Luke’s Wood River has two negative pressure impatient rooms and can convert a third room into one if needed.

    Negative pressure rooms are often used for those with contagious disease like tuberculosis, measles and chickenpox that can go airborne. They’re designed to prevent cross-contamination from room to room. Thanks to ventilation that allows air to flow into the isolation room but not escape from the room. The restricted air flow keeps tiny organisms like the coronavirus from escaping.

    It the hospital exceeds its capacity, it can transfer patients to St. Luke’s Magic Valley or Boise, which have additional capacity to care for patients that require isolation.

    “It is important to note that most patients will have symptoms that do not require hospitalization. And not all patients who need to be hospitalized will require isolation in a negative pressure room,” said Prudek.

    Putting up temporary shelters is an option, but the hospital’s surge plan is to transfer patients to other facilities, she added.

    The state. which now has nine confirmed cases of coronavirus, has 300 hospital beds in isolation rooms or negative pressure rooms. And health officials say they can add 60 more.

    The Idaho Statesman reported that Idaho would need between 1,800 and 3,600 cases of COVID-19 to create enough seriously ill people to fill those beds based on hospitalization rates seen elsewhere. That would be about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of Idaho’s population catching the virus at the same time.

    Entire hospital floors could be dedicated to patients so there are no other patients in proximity to those with coronavirus, said former St. Luke’s CEO David Pate, who is serving on the governor’s COVID-19 task  force. If necessary, other facilities could be converted for use as coronavirus treatment facilities.

  • St. Luke’s has a supply of ventilators on hand and can access more if it needs to, added Prudek

    In the meantime, St. Luke’s Wood River has implemented visitor restrictions at all its facilities. Nurses began verbal screening protocol for visitors on Saturday screening for fever or respiratory symptoms, known exposure to people with COVID-19 within the last 14 days. They’re also asking whether would be-visitors have traveled to high-risk areas.

    Each patient is limited to one visitor. Those under 14 years of age will not be allowed.

    The hospital’s cafeteria has been closed to the public until further notice.

  • If you need assistance and do not have a primary care provider, contact St. Luke’s Wood River Family Medicine in Hailey from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. The number is 208-788-3434.
  • Until further notice, St. Luke’s Wood River Family Medicine will be scheduling same day appointments for non-respiratory health concerns at Suite 109 in the physician office annex. The Hailey clinic will be open only for previously scheduled appointments.
  • St. Luke’s Center for Community Health can help find a primary care provider and other resources, such as mental health and social services. Call 208-727-8733 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
  • If you need to call after hours, call 208-381-9000. The Idaho Care Line is 2-1-1- or 208—926-2588.

The South Central Public Health District will announce the first case of coronavirus in each new county. But they will no longer announce individual cases of COVID-19 in Blaine County

The South Central Public Health District is now running two hotlines for information about COVID-19. The English one is at 208-737-1138; the Spanish, at 208-737-5965. They run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.


The new Ada County case involves a woman under the age of 50 who reported mild symptoms and was not hospitalized. Health officials believe she contracted the virus while traveling.

Later in the day officials announced a ninth case in Idaho--that in Madison County of a BYU-Idaho student in Rexburg who contracted the virus while traveling to a COVID-19 affected area. The student, in his 20s, did not require hospitalization.

So far, the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories has run 295 tests; commercial laboratories in Idaho have run 58 tests.

Nationwide the number of COVID-19 cases has infected some 6,000 Americans, increasing five-fold over the past week. It had killed more than 110 Americans as of Tuesday afternoon.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases is increasing with increased testing. Nearly half of U.S. cases are concentrated in Washington, California and New York.



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