Canceled elective procedures and appointments have triggered changes in staff at both Essentia Health Sandstone and Gateway Clinics in Hinckley, Sandstone and Moose Lake.

An update on Essentia Health Sandstone and Gateway Clinics was provided by Micheal Hedrix and Eric Nielsen respectively to the North Pine Area Hospital District (NPAHD) during their monthly meeting on March 31, 2020.

In response to COVID-19, changes at the Pine Healthcare campus have taken place. Patients who were scheduled to have appointments deemed non-essential with both companies have been asked to reschedule for a later and safer date. Essentia as a whole has furloughed 500 of its 14,500 employees. Local Gateway Clinics have furloughed employees and the Hinckley location is temporarily closed.

Patients entering buildings on the campus are asked to go through a short series of questions and have their temperature taken.

Hedrix in his update to the board presented several ways that NPAHD could help Essentia prepare for COVID-19. The board approved the purchase of a $50,000 UV light room sterilization system. This was the least costly and most immediately available suggestion presented by Hedrix.

An emergency account was created with Therapeutic Service Agency for patients that are experiencing distress but may not be able to afford therapy services. This was based on a $5,000 grant proposal presented to the board. The main concerns addressed by the grant proposal were the loss of income and increased emotional and mental distress being caused by COVID-19.

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