SIOUX FALLS — People who utilize Avera facilities for their health care who feel they may have been exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus) or who are displaying symptoms are asked to call 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372), or contact their clinic.
The toll-free number is Avera’s Medical Call Center that is staffed 24/7. At this number, people will talk to qualified staff who will discuss their concerns and symptoms and determine if that patient needs to be seen by a provider.
It’s important to call 1-877-AT-AVERA, or your clinic number, first rather than going directly to your local clinic in order to protect other patients and staff.
Avera has set up processes for testing that will limit exposure. We are working with the state Department of Health which is the entity that determines which patients are tested. If you have symptoms or are concerned about exposure, please call the 1-877-AT-AVERA number first and the medical team will direct you. We understand some individuals may want to report to their local clinic, but we are asking that you call before arriving at any Avera facilities in an effort to protect patients and staff.
The test is only available to individuals who have been screened by a provider and referred for the test. About 80% of patients who have COVID-19 can be treated at home. The rate of patients who experience serious complications is only slightly higher than that of seasonal flu.
At this time, Avera is not recommending visitors at our long-term care centers as those individuals in long-term care are at high-risk of COVID-19. Consult with your local facility for patients who are in hospice or end-of-life care.
Starting within the next week, Avera hospitals and clinics will allow only one visitor at a time per patient, and that visitor cannot have been exposed to COVID-19, have influenza, or flu-like symptoms, which are similar to COVID-19 symptoms.
Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are fever of over 100 degrees, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone who is experiencing difficulty breathing or an extremely high temperature should call1-877-AT-AVERA.
Here’s how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
• If you are sick, limit close contact with others as much as possible.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avera also encourages social distancing by avoiding crowds and limiting physical contact, i.e., shaking hands or hugging.
For additional information on COVID-19, please go to www.avera.org/COVID-19