CHRISTUS Coushatta Rural Care Center Q&A

The spread of COVID-19 is increasing every day in our state, and information on the virus is constantly changing. CHRISTUS Coushatta Rural Health Center wants to assure the people of this region who trust in us for their health care – we are prepared and stand ready to care for our community. The health care community, including CHRISTUS Coushatta, is united in our commitment to responding to the needs of all patients safely and effectively.

How is CHRISTUS Coushatta prepared for COVID-19 patients?

Our leaders are meeting regularly to assess, reevaluate, and update our emergency preparedness plans, and we have confidence in their plans and processes. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines and partner with local, state and federal government authorities to ensure we are ready to meet the health care needs of the communities we serve.

What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, contact your primary care provider and follow the CDC recommendations to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community. The best thing you can do is stay at home if you are sick, stay in touch with your doctor and if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

· Trouble breathing

· Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

· New confusion or inability to rouse

· Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

We recommend calling your primary care physician on what you should do to control your symptoms. The providers at CHRISTUS Coushatta Clinic have telehealth set up for all primary care needs, and are ready to see patients on this new platform. To access it, call 318-932-2081.

Who can get tested for COVID-19?

At CHRISTUS, only those who have a physician’s order (similar to a prescription) can get tested. CHRISTUS has a drive-thru testing facility in Shreveport, and our providers in the hospital and clinics can provide guidance on testing and the steps a patient needs to take.

How long do the results take?

Physicians contact patients when their results come back, and those results are also reported to the state based on the parish where a patient lives, not where they were tested. Right now, tests are typically taking about 7-10 days to return. This is due to high demand at the labs that run the tests. We work with a variety of lab partners, as we continue to seek the most efficient and rapid process to

serve our patients. We are optimistic that as testing capacity increases nationwide, health care providers will be able to test more patients and turnaround times for results will decrease.

Is it still safe to come to the hospital for treatment or if I have an emergency?

We want to be perfectly clear – CHRISTUS Coushatta remains a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts, to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all of our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients and their families, our Associates and this community we serve.

We know that life still happens – people still need healthcare, and they still have emergencies. Our hospital is open and our clinics are using the latest technology with telehealth to make it even easier for you.

What if I need dental care?

At this time, we are seeing patients with essential dental needs only. Essential dental needs are defined as dental emergencies or urgent dental care. Dental emergencies are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection, and include but are not limited to:

a. Uncontrolled bleeding

b. Cellulitis or a diffuse soft tissue bacterial infection with intra-oral or extra-oral swelling that potentially compromise a patient’s airway

c. Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway

Urgent dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection. These include but are not limited to:

a. Severe dental pain

b. Wisdom tooth pain

c. Dry socket

d. Tooth Abscess

e. Tooth fracture resulting in pain or soft tissue trauma

f. Dental trauma with movement or loss of tooth/teeth

g. Treatment required prior to critical medical procedures

How can I lower the risk of catching a respiratory virus?

Here are a few things you can do to lower your risk of any viral respiratory illness such as the flu or COVID-19:

· WASH YOUR HANDS REGUARLY

· Stay home when you are sick

· Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

· Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and work

· Drink plenty of fluids

What do we know about COVID-19?

The current understanding is that COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Because there is currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment for this virus, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus – that means cleaning your hands often, avoiding close contact with others, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces regularly, and most importantly, staying home when you are sick. The CDC website is an informative resource for those who want to know more about the virus, how it spreads, and how we can take action against it.