Hospitals, clinics and medical facilities are on the front lines for the COVID-19 pandemic. While these facilities are handling those cases, they are also taking care of patients with non-virus-related illnesses.

The Sentinel reached out to Burnett Medical Center (BMC) and St. Croix Regional Medical Center (SCRMC) on how they are handling the current situation and what the public needs to know.

Burnett County remains one of six counties across the state that does not currently have any reported confirmed cases of the virus as the state enters the second month of the safer-at-home order.

“Like all hospitals and medical facilities, our focus is on the health and safety of patients and staff,” said Mellissa Solin of SCRMC. “COVID-19 has disrupted our day to day operations, but we will continue to follow necessary guidelines to return to more normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Halle Pardun of BMC said they have similar guidelines in place for treating patients.

“Per CDC guidance, Asymptomatic patients can present and be treated like usual,” Pardun said. “Depending on their symptoms they can utilize BMC’s walk-in appointments, schedule an appointment, or visit the Emergency Room if urgent needs are present.”

She added, “If you believe you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, please call ahead before visiting your doctor. Most people with mild symptoms are able to recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home or visit public areas, except to get medical care if your symptoms worsen.”

Pardun and Sollin agreed that if you believe you have COVID-19 with severe symptoms you should call 911 and advise the operator that you believe you have the virus.

SCRMC has drive through assessments available seven days a week at the St. Croix Falls location. Sollin said symptoms will be evaluated and then “the care team will make recommendations on any necessary tests or treatment.”

BMC and SCRMC have seen in-person visits go down and are following CDC guidelines other and recommendations from medical professionals for when elective surgeries will be scheduled again.

Both facilities are also offering telehealth options for patients. These visits allow patients to meet with their provider on a smart phone or other device while staying at home. Although some types of visits do require an in-person visit.

More information on these services can be found at burnettmedicalcenter.com and scrmc.org.

Medical professionals agree that this pandemic will pass, they do not know when but when it does facilities will continue providing essential care.

“We believe the need to address several unforeseen challenges based on COVID-19 will require patience until a vaccine is widely available, which experts consensus is not until mid-2021,” Pardun said.

“Our number one priority is to focus on the health and safety of our patients and staff,” Sollin said. “We know that it will be a new normal once the pandemic passes and SCRMC will focus on innovative ways to deliver care.”

“SCRMC is here for the community, we encourage everyone to focus on their health, practice proper hand hygiene, schedule telehealth appointments when needed and abide by the Safer at Home Mandate,” Sollin said.

“We would like our patients, residents, and their loved ones to know that we appreciate their efforts in doing their part towards the pandemic while we continue to do our part,” Pardun said. “We appreciate all the support we’ve received and thank everyone for supporting