COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1b
Vaccine planning is changing rapidly and while we do not yet have the COVID-19 Vaccine for phase 1b patients, we have been diligently planning and are ready to administer this once it becomes available. Last week, following federal guidance, MN Governor Walz announced that individuals 65+ should be able to get the vaccine. The announcement is good news as it opens the vaccine up to many more individuals. However, vaccine shortage still exists making it difficult and, in some cases, impossible to make vaccine widely available. Minnesota is receiving about 60,000 doses per week, and there are estimated to be over 2 million Minnesota residents ages 65+. Despite the reports that the federal government has released all held doses, MDH has not seen an increase in allocation.
At this time, Minnesota and our region continue to vaccinate any individuals in Phase 1a. The latest information shows that we are at least 2.5 weeks out from the possibility of receiving vaccines for those individuals who are 65+.
We do not yet know when people in phase 1b and 1c will be able to get the vaccine, however, if you are interested in being vaccinated, please call AAH at 320.289.1580 and ask to be put on our waiting list. Once we are provided the vaccine, we will call you to arrange for your vaccination. Updates will be provided on our website at www.appletonareahealth.org and on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/appletonareahealth. Until that time, we strongly encourage you to continue to follow the recommended safety precautions of wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others whenever possible.
We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Respiratory Testing Site Instructions
For the safety of our patients and staff, Appleton Area Health has created Respiratory Testing Site to be used as a collection area for respiratory conditions including, but not limited to COVID. The collection area has a separate entrance away from all other patients or employees and is for patients who have symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue.
Follow the below steps when seeking care for respiratory illnesses:
Call Appleton Area Health at 320.289.1580 and ask to speak with the Triage Nurse prior to arriving.
If asked to come in for testing, please drive to AAH’s Respiratory Testing Site which is located a designated area on the lower level of our building and wait in your car. Staff will come out and will provide you with further instructions.
Thank you for your cooperation, remaining calm, and following these steps.
We have also remodeled a space to be used as a Respiratory Clinic. The Respiratory Clinic will be dedicated to seeing patients that are ill and have tested negative for COVID 19. The respiratory clinic has 3 patient exam rooms and a waiting area to ensure ill patients and well patients are separated. Our main waiting room will be for patients that are here for routine well visits, physicals, and follow up visits for chronic health conditions.
We are following stringent cleaning protocols and taking every precaution to make sure your visit is safe!
To decrease risk of exposure and transmission, our clinic staff is designated to the clinic and will not cross over to other departments.
All employees are screened and have their temperature checked at the beginning of every shift. If employees present with a fever or symptoms, they are required to exit the building immediately. All staff are required to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.
All employees are required to wear masks and eye protection while in the facility.
Upon arrival, each patient will have their temperature checked and will be asked specific COVID-19 screening questions.
Patients are required to wear a mask while in the facility, please do not remove your mask unless asked by a staff member to do so.
Social distancing of 6 feet is required. Waiting rooms are arranged to ensure social distancing.If you have a driver that brings you to your appointment, we ask that the driver wait in his/her car until your appointment is over to help us limit the number of people in our clinic at one time.
If you require assistance from a family member or caregiver during the appointment, they will also be screened at the door and required to wear a mask for the duration of your appointment.
Minor children may be accompanied by one parent or guardian.
Every surface is sanitized after every patient including all door handles, chairs, railings, pens, clipboards, and all other equipment.
In addition to the above and regardless of patient contact, all door handles, handicapped buttons, handrails, desks, chairs, scales, and faucets will be sanitized every hour.
Morning appointments (8:00am-11:00am) will be prioritized for those age 65 and older.
We are taking all necessary measures and doing everything possible to protect all who seek care, live, and work here.
Should you have any questions or concerns about scheduling a visit please contact us at 320.289.1580.
More information about coronavirus can be found on MDH’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website. MDH has set up a COVID-19 public hotline that is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline number is 651-201-3920.
Content source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and Appleton Area Health.
What you should do if you have symptoms
Seek medical advice if you are experiencing the following symptoms: fever over 100.4 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, or fatigue and have traveled in the last 14 days, or if you have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Call our triage nurse at 320.289.1580 before coming to the Clinic or Emergency Room (calling ahead can help prevent the spread of the virus).
Appleton Area Health is working with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay prepared to manage COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before. Because this is a new virus, there are unknowns, such as how severe the illness can be, how easily is it transmitted between people, among other features of the virus.
What Appleton Area Health is doing to prepare
Appleton Area Health is working with the CDC and MDH. Jason Boonstra, is AAH's Infection Control Manager and works to train staff and prevent staff, patients, and visitors from being infected with disease.
In addition to daily communication with CDC and MDH, Jason keeps AAH informed of COVID-19 updates. We have equipped our staff with the training and supplies to provide safe, quality care and we are fully trained to safely accommodate patients with infectious diseases. We have aggressive and proactive infection control measures in place as well as screening procedures for every person that enter our facility. In addition, we have closed our Care Center, Hospital, and Apple Ridge to visitors; and are offering Virtual Care or telehealth visits.