March 13, 2020
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Clinic Health System urges Wisconsin residents to heed the warnings of local, state and national health officials to slow the progression of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
We support Gov. Tony Evers' announcement Thursday declaring a public health emergency in Wisconsin. It is the first step of many that all of us as a community must embrace in the coming weeks and months.
Marshfield Clinic Health System has prepared for what is anticipated to be a significant increase in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin. Some of those steps to better protect our patients and staff include:
- Creating a coronavirus taskforce which is specifically looking at how we handle operations, personal protective equipment, staffing management, patient and visitor management, education and communication in our hospitals and clinics. All of these areas are reviewed daily as we respond to this fluid situation and work to implement recommendations from the CDC and local/state health departments.
- We have implemented procedures to care for coronavirus patients in order to keep our well patients healthy and safe in an ambulatory or hospital setting.
- Practice drills are being performed across the Health System to assess our readiness to serve our patients and staff.
- Temporary visitor restrictions in effect at all locations:
- All visitors should be free of illness or symptoms, and at least 18 years old.
- Limit one visitor per adult patients.
- Families and caregivers of pediatric patients should establish two healthy adults who are able to provide support during a continuous 24-hour period.
- Two visitors per patient are allowed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU); parents or support persons only.
- Patients who are at the end of life may have multiple visitors. These patients and families will be supported on a case-by-case basis with the goal of creating an emotional support network while keeping patients and visitors safe.
- Canceled any Health System-sponsored events or activities where more than 50 people would attend.
- Every patient will be screened for coronavirus upon check-in at registration desks.
Slowing the spread of coronavirus is key in reducing the number of ill individuals who may need medical care in the office or hospital. All community members should be exercising caution and following public health guidelines around social distancing and avoiding unnecessary travel. If everyone follows these guidelines, we can avoid large numbers of patients who are simultaneously ill.
We urge people to:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Stay home when you're sick, and avoid contact with people who are already sick.
- Sanitize commonly-used surfaces and objects.
- Avoid unnecessary travel and large social gatherings.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice proper cough etiquette.
- If you become ill with flu or coronavirus symptoms, call your doctor first before coming to a health care clinic or hospital.
Remember that these steps are not just to keep you safe, but also those who are most vulnerable to the virus, mainly the elderly and people with preexisting conditions like heart disease and lung disease.
Using technology to avoid spreading illness
Telehealth or virtual health care using smartphones or webcams connect people with physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The technology allows people to stay home and help limit the potential spread of coronavirus and other illnesses to people and staff in health care facilities.
Our health insurer, Security Health Plan, provides telehealth services at no cost to people enrolled in its health plans. Marshfield Clinic Health System patients can contact Nurse Line at 1-844-342-6276 with questions. Non-Health System patients can use Care My Way®, available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Each session costs $40 and you can pay with any major credit card at the time of service. Visit marshfieldclinic.org/care-my-way for more information.
We encourage everyone to seek coronavirus information from reliable health care resources, including: