Glendive Medical Center officials have asked patients to call before going to the hospital, since the facility has enacted restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients who are sick to the point that they typically would see a doctor and for whom medicine isn't curbing a fever or respiratory symptoms should first call the center's health information hotline at 406-345-8811. That hotline is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, according to a press release from the hospital. A nurse is available to discuss symptoms and schedule appointments.
Anyone experiencing severe respiratory problems, including shortness of breath, should call 911 or the hospital's emergency department at 406-345-3314 before going to the hospital.
"By calling ahead, we can prepare for a patient who may have COVID-19," said MJ Marx, director of quality for GMC.
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19, Marx said. Those with mild symptoms who can manage at home need not undergo testing. Marx reminded the public that it is flu season, so patients with those symptoms should be tested for influenza first.
By Thursday morning, Montana had 71 reported cases of the novel coronavirus and the state's public health laboratory had run 2,193 tests.
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