Good Morning, I’m Rachel Gonzales Chief Executive Officer at Madison Memorial.
I’m Jack Clark, the Medical Director and Chief of Staff at Madison Memorial.
We have both been fully vaccinated, and we have masks for when we go back inside. We thought it would be helpful for the community to just hear the plain facts of what’s going on at Madison Memorial. We have been having this conversation for atleast 18 months and the information is changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. We’ve gone through all the motions I think everybody else has:
- fear and uncertainty at the beginning
- feeling excited about the future
- maybe, it’ll go away
- we’ve really got this we know what we’re doing
- what’s going on
There have been some hard moments and there have been some beautiful moments. Watching the staff and how they care for patients, and care for each other has been beautiful. The public was confused by medical information published before it was fully developed. Preliminary trials that Physicians are used to seeing and then change with new studies. Then put away old ideas. The public isn’t used to having that. There are new studies. We have to change what we’re doing.
We went through a phase for about two-and-a-half to three weeks of no covid patients in the hospital. I think it was early June. With this surge that we’re seeing right now, patients seem to be getting sicker faster. The ones who get sick respond about as well to the same medicine. Part of the problem is some of them are coming in later. It is harder to treat if someone comes in later.
First phase when patients would come in they were very grateful for what we were doing. Now we occasionally have people coming in and saying – but why aren’t you using this medicine? Having read many studies, talking with experts from Intermountain Medical Center, and the University of Utah about protocols of which medicines we should use. Scientific in our approach.
The hospital plan is set up in a four phase approach of how we’re going to treat patients. This includes what things we’re going to shut down. In June we only got to phase two. Last week we went into phase three where we were shutting down our sleep lab. It affected our surgeries and sleep lab. Our surgical department patients having surgery were having to stay in the same day surgery overnight because of covid patients. Overall every department and every hospital seems to be busier. We hope our community is still accessing healthcare when they need to at the appropriate levels.The increase in volume at all hospitals, including in our region, impacts our ability to transfer patients that should be transferred. We are getting busier, and seeing more patients than we’ve ever seen. Sometimes we’re having to have patients stay in the ER longer. We had a patient with more things going on than we can take care of. The closest one with availability was in Provo, Utah. It’s amazing how far we’re having to look. Yesterday we had at least five hospitals calling and wanting to transfer patients. Unfortunately we were at the point where our surgery patients were staying downstairs for recovery instead of coming up to the recovery area. In Northern Idaho in a cardiac hospital with 140 beds, 110 were filled with covid patients.
We need all of the systems working well together. It isn’t just about the inconvenience of going further to receive care. Time is critical in Healthcare. Everybody in healthcare wants to do the most they can at that point of care. If the patient doesn’t have access. Everybody’s hearts hurt a little bit. Be concerned and cautious of the strain on the resources in healthcare right now.
Like the rest of the country. We have some staffing shortages. If you have a desire to serve in healthcare, reach out to your local hospital to see if you can help. There are jobs all over in healthcare.
Covid Patients at Madison
I have probably seen between 75 – 80 covid patients. I’ve only counted four patients who’ve been fully vaccinated and admitted into the hospital as a covid patient. This is similar to the national average about one out of 25 covid patients is actually fully vaccinated. It’s sad to see that 24 of those patients didn’t need to be in the hospital.
I’ve talked with the maternity doctors. They are seeing changes in the placentas. They are seeing smaller babies similar to someone who smokes. It’s having an adverse effect for Mom who get covid during pregnancy. All of these doctors that I’ve talked with are in line with the CDC recommendations. If pregnant, moms talk to your provider. The problems of the disease are worse than the problems of the vaccines.
Zero Hospital Admissions from Covid Vaccine Complications
I have had zero hospital admission for patients with vaccine complications. What I have seen is a bad covid disease. We’re not admitting very many patients that have been fully vaccinated. Those that we have admitted who’ve been vaccinated have recovered quicker. It’s been impressive in terms of how much better the patients do if they do have to be admitted.
Can not get Covid from the Vaccine
The Covid vaccine is a very different Technology. It is an mRNA vaccine that only codes for one of the five proteins that the covid virus makes. You cannot get covid from the covid vaccine. For the first 3 days your viral titers go up irregardless of whether you’re vaccinated and unvaccinated. At day four the vaccinated person’s viral titers start dropping on the vaccinated person. For the unvaccinated, viral titers keep skyrocketing. It’s usually 7 to 10 days when we see patients coming into the hospital.
Influenza Vaccine (Flu Shot)
Something made influenza not flare up last year. I think I only admitted one patient with influenza. It used to be three to four patients a week. Some experts worry that when the disease has an off year that the next year may come back twice as strong. It is highly recommended that people get their influenza vaccine, and their covid vaccine.
Please Wear a Mask
I’m fully vaccinated and I could still get the delta variant. If I cough and sneeze on someone who has cancer or an immune-deficiency where they can’t take the vaccine, that patient could get sick. Until we can get out of this phase of the pandemic, please wear a mask. It could save lives. Help each other.
COVID-19 Testing at Madison Memorial Hospital
September 17, 2020
Thank you for choosing Madison Memorial to perform your COVID-19 testing procedure for you. We’ve conducted thousands of such tests, and look forward to providing you with a competent procedure and accurate results.
Physician referral. Please note that, in order to be tested by us, you must have a doctor’s order. Also, because we make every effort to ensure your safety and your privacy, the process will, at times, experience delays. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to meet the testing needs of everyone in the community, including you.
Expected turnaround time. Upon completion of your test, your sample will be shipped overnight to IHC (Intermountain Healthcare), in Utah. The turnaround time for IHC’s lab is 3-7 days, depending on their volume. Currently, the number of samples awaiting results is high, which means it will likely take about a week for you to receive your results. Again, we’re grateful for your patience with this process. We know that having to wait can be frustrating. Be assured that we’re all working as fast as we can to expedite things.
Self-quarantine. From the time you’ve received your test until you’re provided with your result, it’s very important that you self-isolate at home, in order to protect others whom you might inadvertently expose to the virus. Please plan on spending up to a week for this.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us at 208-359-6900.
Thanks again, and welcome to Madison Memorial.
First COVID-19 Death Confirmed in Jefferson County Resident
July 20, 2020
(SE Idaho) – Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) and Madison Memorial Hospital have confirmed the death of a female in her 80s from Jefferson County due to COVID-19. The patient was admitted to Madison Memorial Hospital last week and passed away several days later on Friday, July 17. The patient had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to being admitted to the hospital. Out of respect to her family, no additional details will be released.
“Our entire staff at Madison Memorial share our deepest condolences with the patient’s family and friends for their loss–and a loss felt by our entire community. This is a serious disease and the preventative actions of the hospitals in our region reflect this,” says Dr. Rachel Gonzales, Chief Executive Officer at Madison Memorial.
“With cases of COVID-19 increasing exponentially, it is vital, now more than ever, to do our part to take precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, particularly wearing face coverings, washing your hands more frequently, and maintaining physical space (at least 6 feet) between people not of the same household, stated Geri Rackow, EIPH Director
On July 14, EIPH’s Board of Health (BOH) adopted the COVID-19 Regional Response Plan for the eight-county region (Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton Counties). The Plan is stratified by risk levels starting with a Minimal Risk/green level and escalating towards the Critical Risk/red level. Each level has its own metrics and mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Different parts of EIPH’s region may be at different risk levels at any one time. A copy of the Plan, along with a chart indicating the Risk Level of each county including specific guidance for that level, can be found at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov.
Details on all the confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases I the region along with other useful data regarding the pandemic can be found on our dashboard located on our website (the link is below the case count graph on the main page) at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov.
Also, EIPH has a call center to answer questions regarding COVID-19. Call 208-522-0310 or toll free at 855-533-3160 to speak with someone. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In addition, questions can be submitted via email to [email protected] or asked through our Facebook page at @EIPH.Idaho.
Subject to change check eiph.idaho.gov
Always there, ready to care
By DR. RACHEL GONZALES AND DR. BETH MARTIN
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Idaho’s health care workers have stood ready to serve the needs of all Idahoans.
Watching the story unfold across the world, it was impossible to know if the community spread of the virus in Idaho would overrun hospitals, expose thousands of doctors and health care workers, and stress supplies of personal protective equipment and life-saving machines.
Idaho doctors and hospitals did what most Idahoans did — Prepare.
Hospitals and doctors voluntarily paused delayable procedures to preserve staff, hospital beds, and equipment and put measures in place to keep patients and health care workers safe.
Now, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Idaho is on the decline. While Idaho’s medical community remains on high alert and is prepared for surges, we are also creating a new normal and resuming all services. Medically necessary and non-emergent procedures are taking place — and will occur in the safest and most sanitized settings by professionals who know how to keep you safe. Rest assured, although it might look a little different, the quality of care you and your family rely on hasn’t changed.
While many are embracing new activities and opportunities as we move into Stage 4, we know there are others who are apprehensive about what that could mean for the health of their families and themselves. We understand that concern but encourage you not to put off the care you need.
Cancer screenings will need to continue, despite the coronavirus. Heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other chronic conditions did not pause along with the rest of the world. Those conditions and others must still be treated, and longer delays could lead to worse outcomes for those patients.
Worries about COVID-19 should not stop you from seeking preventive care either. We encourage you to continue wellness visits, which are especially important for children to make sure they are meeting developmental milestones and are on schedule for critical routine vaccines.
Your health care teams are ready to provide these treatments and keep you and your family safe. Balancing the benefits of medical interventions against their potential risks is not a new notion for us. Precautions that banks and grocery stores have recently implemented are basics that health care workers have made second nature during their entire careers, not just during a pandemic. Your physicians are not just experts because they know how to do things well. They are experts because they know whether to do things, and when to do things and, equally important, when not to do things. That expertise has always allowed them to advise patients as individuals, based on their individual needs.
Moving forward, it will be important for Idahoans to remember that, with all that has changed in our lives as a result of this disruption, one thing that remains is the trust they can have in their health care providers to be there for them, with their best interest, and their best health, at heart.
Dr. Rachel Gonzales is the CEO at Madison Memorial Hospital, Rexburg, and chairwoman of the Idaho Hospital Association. Dr. Beth Martin is a pediatrician in Coeur d’Alene and the board president of the Idaho Medical Association