WASILLA — News Sunday spread throughout the Valley that two people in the Mat-Su had tested positive for COVID 19, but health care professionals at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center had already been preparing for changes for weeks.
The Department of Health and Social Services protects patient information through federal HIPAA laws, but Borough Department of Emergency Services Director Ken Barkley announced on Monday that 75 people have been tested in the Valley, 42 of those at Capstone Clinic and 33 tested at MSRMC.
“The two confirmed positive Mat-Su Valley cases announced by the Department of Health and Social Services were not hospital patients, nor were they tested at the hospital,” said MSRMC Marketing Director Alan Craft. “What we’ve learned about this illness from the CDC is that even when patients meet the risk criteria and test positive for COVID-19, the vast majority will have mild-to moderate symptoms that do not require hospital care.”
Craft suggests that residents concerned about their health call the state established COVID 19 hotline at 211 where people can speak with specialists to answer questions. Craft also suggested that people in need of data visit the DHSS website coronavirus.alaska.gov. Craft said that MSRMC has been preparing for the coronavirus for months alongside the entire Mat-Su community of health care providers to prepare for a possible surge of patients.
“Early on, we established a taskforce to develop and implement an action plan to ensure the safety of our patients, staff, visitors and community. We have negative air pressure isolation rooms for treating COVID-19 patients who may be hospitalized, and we are converting additional rooms, should they be needed. We are daily assessing the situation and adjusting protocols as we learn more about this illness,” said Craft.