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Health Director Releases Clinic Statement on Current Covid-19 Response

Submitted by Gary Girard

LCO Health Center Director, ED. D., M.S., B.A.

The LCO Clinic has recently upgraded our response to Covid-19 from our previous Essential/Urgent Care to a Soft Opening. All employees have been called back to work and we are providing services in all departments. We are seeing urgent/emergent care patients plus 25% of our previous patient load. We will be operating at about 55% of our capacity. It is important to protect our employees and community by seeing patients on urgency of care needed. Providers will determine if care can be provided by curbside, telephone, telehealth, skype, zoom or if patients need face to face provider support. Referrals will continue to be made for specialty services that are not provided at the Lac Courte Oreilles Health Center for patients that meet PRC eligibility.

We are still providing curbside Covid-19 testing for patients presenting symptoms such as: Cough, Shortness of breath, Difficulty breathing, Fever, Chills, Sore Throat, Muscle Aches, Loss of taste or smell, Fatigue, Nausea, or Diarrhea. Severe cases tend to worsen about five to 10 days after symptoms start.

If you have any of these symptoms please call the Sawyer County Hot Line at

Hotline Number: 715-934-4518

Hotline Hours:

Monday-Friday: 9:00 am-4:00 pm Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 am-3:00 pm

We are partnering with Sawyer County Health, LCO Emergency Management, Hayward Hospital, and our LCO Incident Command Team led by Lieutenant Commander Summer Pearson, our Lab Corp resource, and Commander David Axt, our Pharm D expert.

We have hired a Covid-19 Response team of (5) employees which will free up our current staff to attend their regular duties providing care for our patients, which you have grown accustomed too. This team will be providing curbside Covid-19 testing at the health center as well as in our community in the upcoming weeks. The data will help us make best practice decisions to continue to protect our community by reducing the spread of Covid-19.

We are also providing curbside pickup in our pharmacy. This service will continue from now on as it has been supported by our patients and community.

Our front door employees are screening patients as they come through the door, checking temperatures and asking Covid-19 related questions. Patients are given a mask to protect themselves and others at the front door.

We are also providing Diabetes checks in the curbside delivery system.

We have seen a slight surge in cases in Sawyer County. We are currently up to 37 cases County Wide of Covid-19 with 0 deaths. 24 cases have fully recovered with 13 cases active. There are currently (3) active cases in our community. When someone has symptoms they should call the Hotline number listed above. They are screened for symptoms and if they are an LCO patient they are scheduled for testing at LCO Health Center Curbside. We have a number of tests we are using. The ABBOTT Rapid test is given to patients presenting symptoms. The results are back in 20 minutes. We can test up to 24 patients per day at the present time. We have requested more tests and a second testing machine and are waiting on those machines to be available. We also have Lab Core Testing available. We have trained our nursing staff in Covid-19 testing to support this effort. The results on these tests are back in 2 to 5 days.

We are meeting weekly with Indian Health Service in our Bemidji Area Director's meetings. Other tribes are experiencing a slight uptake in positive cases and we collaborate on best practices including, hand washing regularly, wearing face masks when 6 feet or closer to others, avoiding large gatherings of 10 or more, and staying home if sick.

Sawyer County Health is doing our contract tracing at this time. If one of our patients tests positive at the health center we will call Sawyer County for their assistance in contact tracing. If one of our patients tests positive at Hayward Hospital, they will contact Sawyer County Health and then contact us and we will support their contact tracing efforts. This has proven effective to date.

We have had a few positive Covid-19 tests in the past week. Patients testing positive are quarantined for 14 days. Close contacts are notified and quarantined for 14 days if they had personal contact within 6 feet without face masks for 15 minutes or more. So far, contract tracing has resulted in no further spread of the disease.

Due to the recent spread of the disease, Governor Evers has made the following mandate state wide: Under this order, Wisconsin residents ages 5 and older are required to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household or living unit. Face coverings are strongly recommended if you are outdoors and maintaining physical distancing is not possible. The order also enumerates exceptions to the requirement, listing activities such as when an individual is eating, drinking, or swimming. Individuals with health conditions or disabilities that would preclude the wearing of a face covering safely are also exempt from the requirement.

Please follow all CDC guidelines to protect yourself, your family, and community. Limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people. Use outdoor venues and face masks, if you are exceeding this limit as the virus is less communicable outside. Use regular hand washing, wear face masks, clean with disinfectant which protect against Covid-19, or bleach solution 10%, and practice social distancing.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the health center for information. Stay safe and God bless us in this pandemic.


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