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Trinity Health continues testing, treating more as cases grow

Trinity hospitalizations few but increasing, testing continues

File Photo Trinity Hospital has seen an uptick in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with the rise in positive test numbers statewide and around the region.

As the Minot region has seen increasing positive tests for COVID-19, Trinity Health reports it is seeing more patients.

“Numbers of hospitalizations have been relatively few,” Trinity officials said in an email, “but have bumped up over the past couple of weeks – a trend that has been seen across the state. In fact, last week’s 12 positive patients at one time equaled the total number of positive patients hospitalized during the first two months.”

Data available from the North Dakota Department of Health on Friday showed Ward County with 209 cases since the pandemic began, of which 42 cases were still active. In First District Health Unit’s seven-county area, there have been 334 cases, with 82 active.

Trinity Health also reported housing a larger number of COVID-19-suspect patients, who exhibit COVID-19-type symptoms and are treated as COVID-positive while awaiting test results.

Hospitalized patients who are positive for COVID-19 are cared for in a designated unit in the hospital, separate from other patients, with trained, licensed nursing staff, a medical director and a controlled environment, according to Trinity.

Trinity Health also reports it has resumed all services that were curtailed or suspended in the spring. Those initial actions were taken to follow federal and state guidelines, reduce transmission among staff and patients and conserve personal protective equipment.

“Today all clinics, diagnostics, therapies, and surgeries are available, and that availability is determined with input by your physician,” Trinity stated.

With all services, Trinity reports, it continues to follow safety practices that include:

– Ensuring social distancing with a maximum number of people allowed in different sized clinical settings and waiting areas.

– Cleaning and disinfecting more frequently, beyond the normal high standard.

– Requiring all staff to wear masks, and all patients/visitors to bring and wear masks or other face coverings upon arrival and throughout their visits.

“Face coverings are integral to our ability to keep services open and everyone safe, especially as cases in North Dakota continue to climb,” Trinity stated. “The masking requirement allowed us to adjust visitor restrictions to better support patients’ and families’ needs, while helping to reduce the risk of transmission. The latest science affirms that cloth face coverings and social distancing are critical tools in the fight against COVID-19. We appreciate the community’s response to increasing compliance with wearing face coverings whenever in the public or when adequate social distancing is not readily achievable, and would like to further increase the number of people coming to our facilities prepared with their own face coverings. It is the responsibility of all of us to protect each other.”

Trinity is testing same-day surgery patients for COVID-19 ahead of their procedures. Trinity has the ability to perform a number of rapid tests in-house, but the supplies for that test are limited so those tests aren’t offered outside of very strict guidelines.

Trinity has a drive-through testing location in southwest Minot that operates six days a week by appointment. Individuals with or without symptoms can call 857-7817 for an appointment.

First District Health Unit also offers tests to people without symptoms in its Minot office. Appointments are available by calling the health unit at 852-1376. Testing events continue to be scheduled around the district, including next Tuesday morning at the Sheridan County Courthouse in McClusky and Thursday morning, Aug. 13, in Kenmare Memorial Hall. These are walk-in events but pre-registration is encouraged at fdhu.org.

Sanford Health is offering antibody testing for $65 at its clinics, including those in Minot.

Trinity Health says it is not currently offering antibody testing without a physician’s order, due to the limited value the information would yield for the general public.

“At this time, researchers do not know whether the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus now or in the future; nor will the test determine, if you are immune, how long that immunity may last,” Trinity stated.

Trinity Health has had multiple rounds of mass testing for the virus at its facilities – two at the hospitals/clinics and several at Trinity Homes. The Kenmare facility has had three rounds of mass testing.

Recaps of mass testing events are as follows:

– First round at hospitals/clinics saw roughly 480 staff tests; four were positive.

– Second round at hospitals/clinics tested 875 staff; one was positive.

– Three rounds at Trinity Homes of staff and residents found all negative. Each of those rounds tested at least 450 individuals. The third round was 465 tests. A fourth round on July 21 identified an asymptomatic employee as positive but immediate retesting showed negative. A fifth round Aug. 1 showed an asymptomatic employee tested positive. The contact tracing showed all residents and staff were at low risk for exposure from the employee. Trinity has begun a sixth round of testing.

– Three rounds were conducted at Kenmare Community Hospital, and in the third round, one staff member and one resident initially tested positive but upon retesting were found to be negative.

“We have well-established protocols in place for how we safely treat patients and residents testing positive for COVID-19, or awaiting such tests but suspected positive due to symptoms. We also have return-to-work policies for staff who test positive, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic,” Trinity stated. These protocols and policies are kept up-to-date with the latest information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent and the North Dakota Department of Health.

“Employees who test positive will follow guidelines modeled after the CDC and the NDDoH,” Trinity added. “This involves self-isolating at home while being monitored for symptoms until they can safely return to work. Contact tracing is conducted by First District Health Unit.”

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