UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Expands COVID-19 Testing, Provides Safe Care

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Grinnell, IA – May 21, 2020 – To help protect health care workers and prevent further spread of COVID-19 in our communities, UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) expanded COVID-19 testing to include asymptomatic patients admitted to the hospital, starting on May 6. This included planned admissions and transfers of all ages who had not been tested for COVID-19 in the prior 72 hours.

The reason for prioritizing testing of all patients admitted to GRMC is due to higher risk for potential urgent procedures as well as discharge planning, like patients going to long-term care facilities. This includes testing patients admitted for labor and delivery.

“The health and safety of our patients and team members remains our top priority,” says Jennifer Havens, CEO. “The growth in testing capacity has enabled us to test all admitted patients, including pre-procedural testing for those receiving outpatient procedures at the hospital. This has been a key step in our gradual reintroduction of elective services at GRMC.” 

In addition, UnityPoint Health – Grinnell began expanding outpatient COVID-19 testing, effective the week of May 18. The new outpatient testing recommendations now include all symptomatic outpatients; previous guidance had restricted outpatient testing to health care workers, high-risk persons and those in congregate living situations.

“As our testing capability increases, we will continue to test more people in our communities,” says Lauren Graham, MD, MPH. “This expanded testing allows us to support public health in identifying positive cases of COVID-19 and carrying out appropriate contact tracing. Though the testing criteria has expanded, we continue to use our finite testing resources as wisely as possible. Individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms – such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or runny nose – are encouraged to call our respiratory care clinic at (641) 236-2378 or their primary care provider. An assessment will be done on a case-by-case basis. Asymptomatic individuals will not be tested at this time.”

As residents begin to leave their homes and re-enter their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, UnityPoint Health – Grinnell wants to help patients and their families understand how health care has changed in recent weeks. 

“As we navigate the ‘new normal’ for health care, we want our communities to know that they are still at the center of everything we do,” says Havens. “A few things may look different operationally, but our teams are here each day and ready to provide you the safe care you need. We encourage you to continue prioritizing your health and well-being.”

When visiting the hospital or clinics, patients can expect to see team members and other patients and visitors wearing masks. Many areas have been arranged differently to accommodate safe social distancing. UnityPoint Health – Grinnell encourages people with chronic illnesses to receive care that’s important to their conditions. Adults and kids alike should continue receiving routine care, including wellness visits and vaccinations.

Any individual experiencing a medical emergency should not hesitate to call 9-1-1 or come to the emergency department.

UnityPoint Health – Grinnell is providing the care individuals need in the way that feels most comfortable to the patient. Options for receiving care include in-person visits, phone and video visits with an individual’s care team, virtual visits and GRMC’s 24/7 emergency department. For more information about where to go for care and providers accepting new patients, visit unitypoint.org/grinnell. 

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