Our hospital and all clinics are open and ready to care for patients. However, we are restricting visitor access to the hospital.  Learn more 

Gritman Medical Center COVID-19 Updates: Safe for care, resuming elective surgeries, testing and reopening society

Gritman Medical Center, Gritman | Moscow Family Medicine, Gritman Internal Medicine and its family medicine clinics in Potlatch, Kendrick and Troy are open and very safe for patient care. All locations are offering telemedicine and in-person appointments for new and established patients.

“It’s critically important that patients and their loved ones feel comfortable about seeking care and staying on top of their normal health concerns during the emergency, said Bob Kendrick, Chief Nursing Officer. “Coming to our hospital or a clinic is much safer than being in other public places. Hospital and clinic staff are professionally trained and equipped in infection prevention and we have taken many additional steps to protect against transmission of COVID-19.”

As a hospital and clinic system, Gritman has implemented multiple coordinated steps during the emergency to protect the health and safety of patients and staff:

  • Hospital Visitor Restrictions: Gritman has significantly limited the number of people allowed in the hospital with few exceptions.
  • Hospital Staff, Patient and Visitor Screening: All staff, patients and visitors are screened for respiratory and related symptoms before they are allowed to enter the hospital.
  • Emergency Department Mobile Respiratory Unit: Gritman established a separate area outside the hospital to provide care for anyone presenting respiratory symptoms.
  • Facemask Requirements: All patients, staff and allowed visitors are masked throughout our hospital and clinics.
  • Clinic Patient Pre-Screening: All patients are screened over the phone or in person outside the clinic before entering our clinics.
  • Dedicated Isolation Care: All patients admitted to the hospital who are awaiting COVID test results are kept in special isolation containment areas until the test result is confirmed.
  • Social Distancing Measures: Waiting areas have been restructured to allow for appropriate social distancing and the cafes and other gathering places are closed.

“These measures and many others have been in effect since early March,” said Kara Besst, President and CEO. “From day one, it has been our priority to maintain a safe and reassuring environment for patient care. We don’t want to see a secondary health crisis because people are suffering at home to the detriment of their health. Our clinics and hospital are open and very safe for patient care and the public should continue to seek medical care as they did before the emergency began.”

Gritman has also restarted most elective surgeries effective Monday, April 27. The American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN), and the American Hospital Association (AHA) released a document on Friday, April 17th titled “Joint Statement: Roadmap for Resuming Elective Surgery after COVID-19 Pandemic” to its membership.

This statement and roadmap allowed Gritman to work in conjunction with hospital medical staff leadership to develop a plan to resume surgical procedures. We are now at a stage where we know more about COVID-19 and have the safety protocols, equipment, inventory (medicines and personal protective equipment) and procedures in place to protect patients and staff.

“Coming to our hospital or a clinic is much safer than being in other public places. Hospital and clinic staff are professionally trained and equipped in infection prevention and we have taken many additional steps to protect against transmission of COVID-19.” – Chief Nursing Officer Bob Kendrick

While Gritman has been conducting emergency and emergent cases throughout the COVID-19 emergency, elective cases had been cancelled or delayed effective March 24. The hospital is working with surgeons and patients to place those cases back on the schedule to get patients the care they need as quickly and safely as possible. Surgical patients are being tested for COVID-19 prior to their procedure. Once the test sample is collected, patients are asked to isolate at home and practice social distancing prior to their procedure.

Gritman Medical Center has an excellent history of preventing infections. The hospital’s Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) rate is significantly and consistently better than the national benchmark. Our surgical teams, operating rooms, equipment and protocols have all been enhanced during COVID-19 to implement the best practices to protect patients and staff.

Gritman has a sufficient supply of COVID-19 test kits to meet the current demand and has been testing regularly since March 1 for patients who meet the screening guidelines as established by the Centers for Disease Control. No one who has met the guidelines has been turned away for testing. In addition to the hospital and Gritman | MFM, residents of Latah County are also being tested at CHAS Latah Community Health and Moscow Medical.

Test samples collected at Gritman Medical Center and Gritman | MFM are sent to the State of Idaho laboratory in Boise or private commercial labs. With the addition of another private lab in Spokane, the average turnaround time for test results has been improving and is now less than 2.5 days. Some results are being returned within a 24 hour period.

To date, Gritman and Gritman | MFM have collected more than 500 test samples. Results are reported by District 2 Public Health and currently, there are 5 positive cases in Latah County with no deaths. However, Nez Perce County is reporting 70 confirmed and 9 probable cases and 19 deaths from the disease.

Anyone concerned about COVID-19 can call the Gritman COVID-19 Hotline at 208-883-4109 to get answers to basic questions regarding symptoms, home treatment and testing guidelines. The public can also text “COVID19” to 208-295-5080 to receive a link to Gritman Medical Center’s convenient online assessment tool.

Gritman supports Governor Little’s plan to gradually open up in stages, based on how the state is progressing toward a downward trend in COVID-19 positive test results, hospitalization rates, COVID-19 related deaths, as well as the availability of critical medical infrastructure and supplies.

Gritman continues to see positive signs in Latah County that the public’s hard work and sacrifice are paying off and as a community of health care professionals is grateful to the for the part everyone has played in flattening the curve. To date Gritman has not had a confirmed positive COVID-19 case admitted to the hospital. Calls to the hotline and patients presenting with respiratory symptoms have both steadily declined.

But even as society begins to reopen, it is critically important for the public to remember to practice social distancing, rigorous hand hygiene, wear cloth face masks in public when social distancing is not possible, while helping protect vulnerable populations such as older people and those with underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems.

Stay up to date with the latest information on COVID-19 at gritman.org/coronavirus/.