Updated: Extended Care residents may be isolated or transferred if they catch virus

People coming into North Valley Hospital who have COVID-19 would be transferred elsewhere

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include new information shared with the newspaper by North Valley Hospital District COO John McReynolds in regards to the option of isolating North Valley Extended Care residents should they be suspected of, or test positive for, COVID-19. The other option, which was included in the original article, referred to non-residents who come to North Valley Hospital seeking help. If they were found or suspected to have COVID-19, they  would be transferred to one of three other hospitals for treatment.

TONASKET – In order to protect the residents of the North Valley Extended Care, patients who test positive for, and those that are suspected of, having COVID-19 may be transferred to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak or Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster or they may be isolated in a designated area in the nursing home.

“When a patient comes to the ED (Emergency Department) with potential COVID19 and needs to be hospitalized, they will be sent to a different hospital. If the virus infects an Extended Care resident they may be transferred to a hospital or they may isolate in a designated area in the nursing home,” said John McReynolds, Chief Operating Officer of North Valley Hospital District, which includes North Valley Extended Care.

McReynolds clarified an earlier statement by Okanogan County Public Health which seemed to indicate residents who tested positive for COVID-19 would be transferred to one of the three other hospitals, but did not mention isolating them in a special designated area. However, Public Health was talking about people who were not long term care residents who came into North Valley Hospital to be checked out.

In their statement, which was part of an April 10, COVID-19 update, Public Health said transferring these patients would “reduce the potential to introduce COVID-19 into North Valley Extended Care in an effort to protect our most vulnerable.”

“Our approach towards the general community would be to care for them in the ED and transfer them if they need to be hospitalized,” said McReynolds.

McReynolds said he would also like to address a rumor that the nursing home did not have enough personal protection equipment in the form of masks.

“(This) is not the case at all. Like every facility, we are conserving our masks and gowns and looking towards non-traditional options, but we are not anticipating any immediate shortages,” said McReynolds.