La Crosse medical centers restricting visitors in response to COVID-19

Patients are asked to call before arriving at local medical centers

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – If a person needs medical attention or has a simple check-up it’s best to call before driving to the hospital. Local medical centers are trying to keep as many people from entering buildings as possible.

“The challenging part there has been obviously protecting our patients, protecting our staff and protecting the public,” said Jason Fratzke, chief nursing officer at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Everyone is adjusting to this new time. A time where communities are limiting a person to person contact. It all looks intimidating but places like Mayo Clinic Health System are still here to serve the community.

“No need to fear,” Fratzke said. “It’s not that we are not wanting to care for patients. We are caring for patients differently.”

Visitors are no longer allowed inside the hospital unless permission is granted by Mayo Clinic Health System officials.

“Some of those are going to be case by case,” Fratzke said.

Limiting the number of people who are going through these doors is a necessary step, he said.

“An increase in individuals increases the risk of transmission and other things related to the virus,” Fratzke said.

In order to have permission to visit Mayo Clinic Health System, they ask people to call ahead of time. Patients can no longer just walk into the building.

“We are taking people’s temperature,” Fratzke said. “We are doing a screening of all the patients.”

People who show up unannounced will be sent home. Doctors don’t want people using emergency facilities for things that can be done through useful technology.

“It’s video visits. It could be a telephone visit. It could be other ways where I can connect with you,” Fratzke said. “In many cases, it doesn’t require us to lay hands on you to help you as a patient.”

Doctors will also contact their patients if a checkup is rescheduled. All critical procedures will happen as planned.

“It’s because we are doing all of this that allows those kinds of patients to still enter with confidence,” Fratzke said.

Staff at Mayo are also having their temperature taking twice daily. Mayo Clinic Health System does have a COVID-19 testing area. For more information click here. 

Gundersen Health System has also suspended all hospital and clinic visitors. Here is the latest press release.

March 23, 2020

Gundersen suspends all hospital and clinic visitors

Gundersen Health System understands the importance of engaging families as part of the healing process. However, to protect our patients, staff and community during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are restricting all visitors to our Hospitals, Emergency Services and Clinics until further notice.

Our policy is in line with other state and national guidelines to limit gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Anyone dropping off and picking up patients should wait outside unless they need support in communicating.

There will still be exceptions for end-of-life, interpreter/communication needs, surgery, Labor and Delivery, emergency room and pediatric patients.

Visitor restrictions are temporary and may change as Gundersen monitors the COVID-19 situation locally, regionally and nationally.

More information about Gundersen Health System’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.