Lake Hospital COVID sign

These signs are posted in multiple locations outside the Lake District Hospital instructing people to call before entering the Hospital if they COVID symptoms.

Lake County’s COVID situation has changed in recent weeks. The number of cases reported in the County has risen significantly, and COVID patients have been hospitalized at the Lake District Hospital for the first time.

Lake Health District reported 20 new cases last week; the count rose from 65 cases on Monday, Nov. 16, to 69 cases on Tuesday, Nov. 17, to 85 cases on Friday, Nov. 20.

Lake Health District CEO Charlie Tveit told the Examiner Monday, Nov. 23 that he does not wish to share how many people have been admitted to the Lake District Hospital as a result of COVID because “we’re too small.” Most other small hospitals have taken the same position to his knowledge, Tveit said.

He stressed that while he wants to give the public as much information as possible, he also wants to protect people’s privacy. Some people have tested positive for COVID at the Hospital, Tveit said, and of those, “Some have stayed, some have not.” His goal in not releasing the exact number of hospitalizations is to protect those individuals’ privacy, he said.

LDH announced Friday that it has reinstated limited access to the Hospital campus. Acute care patients are limited to three visitors per day, who may come and go as needed. OB patients are limited to three visitors per day, and then to only one visitor per day after delivery due to the extreme risk of death for newborns who contract COVID.

Emergency department patients are limited to one visitor per day — or two for pediatric patients in the emergency department — who can come and go as needed. All visitors must be age 18 or older.

People who believe they have been exposed to COVID and/or are exhibiting symptoms, are asked to call the Hospital’s Symptomatic Call Line during weekday business hours at 541-947-8150, before coming to the hospital, clinics or the ER.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever of more than 100.4°, new onset shortness of breath, new onset cough, sore throat, body aches, recent loss of taste or smell.

Individuals with minor symptoms are encouraged to self-isolate, monitor for worsening conditions and call the above number to speak to a medical provider to see if they need to be tested.

Testing is only done with a provider’s order or an order from Lake County Public Health. Testing for minor symptoms is not indicated or guaranteed in an ER visit. ER visits should be limited to those experiencing severe symptoms only.

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