We on the front lines want to thank you. We appreciate your support and your patience through these trying times. I am optimistic that we are making progress battling the COVID-19 virus.

We stumbled a bit when this hit us with such force. No one is truly prepared for a hurricane or a forest fire. But we have learned and adapted and changed. I am so proud of the team of health care workers here at St. Luke’s Wood River, from the people who answer the phones, to the nurses, the laboratory technicians, the X-ray personnel, the physicians, and to everyone in between. We have pulled together like never before with patient care and safety as our guiding principal. We are working as one to care for this community, answering questions on the phone or MyChart, seeing you in our sick parking lot clinic in Ketchum, caring for our sickest members in the emergency department, and thankfully, in the last two weeks, being able to care for you in our own well clinics and in our own hospital.

Through it all, you, our patients, have been understanding and supportive. You have accepted sitting in your car in a snowstorm waiting for someone in a Hazmat suit to ask you the same questions three times before we can safely examine you. You have accepted us calling you to cancel the appointment you waited six weeks to get. You are open to our new options for care including phone and video visits. You trust that we are doing the right thing for you and that we are doing it as rapidly as we can. You have been gracious, and we thank you.

We are making progress. New cases of COVID are down—I need to stress, down. They have not stopped. We have very strict screening methods in place to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff. It may seem redundant. It may seem like overkill, but we need to ask you all for more patience. You can call the clinics and you can be seen for urgent or acute issues. You can have needed—not routine—laboratory tests or X-rays done at the Hailey Clinic or at the hospital. We can see your children if they need immunizations.

We are still not ready to resume other preventative visits or face to face visits for chronic issues.

You will be asked about any symptoms of COVID before scheduling an appointment. If you are, or simply might be, sick, you will be referred to our “sick” parking lot clinic. Even if you don’t think you have coronavirus, if you are sick, we need to keep you out of the “well” clinics. I know that is not ideal. It might not even seem fair, but that is the reality for now. When you arrive for your clinic visit, you will be screened again with questions and with a temperature check. If you have a fever, even low grade, you will not be allowed into a “well” clinic. This protects everyone. In the future, I’m sure the screening will decrease, but we are not there yet.

How else can we help each other? Continue your social distancing, wear masks when you are out to the grocery store, wash your hands, don’t touch your face. We have made it this far together. We can get through this. Thank you for your support.

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