Throughout the last few months, health officials have been scrambling to find ways to stop the spread of COVID-19, and up until recently, Lincoln County had reported no cases. Unfortunately, on April 13 Grover C. Dils Medical Center announced the first case of the disease in the county.
The infected person’s identity is not being disclosed publicly, due to privacy laws, but it was revealed during an interview on April 15 that the individual is from the Alamo area. Currently, the person is self-quarantined at home, and staff from the hospital are monitoring the individual’s condition.
The test that revealed the disease was done in a different location outside of the county, but the hospital says it is “aggressively pursuing the identification of all direct contacts to our local patient zero” to try and stop the virus from spreading, and anyone who has come into contact with the patient “will be informed and asked to self-quarantine.”
This new case has brought up a lot of questions in the community, including whether or not the hospital is prepared for the possible surge of cases in Lincoln County. While Melissa Rowe, the CEO and administrator of Grover C. Dils, maintains that the hospital has an adequate supply of medical equipment for the county’s needs, their plan isn’t to hold on to COVID-19 patients for long-term care, due to limited capacity. Grover C. Dils has three ventilators and limited rooms.
“We have four rooms [for new patients],” Rowe explained, “and all of my long-term care rooms are full. We’re focused on treating, stabilizing and transferring the patients to a higher level of care.”
The question of testing kits has come up in the past, and while Rowe will not reveal the exact number Grover C. Dils has, she noted that the tests cannot be administered until a series of steps have been taken. Anyone that shows symptoms must meet with their health-care provider before being tested. If a provider confirms that a patient’s symptoms match those of COVID-19, the hospital must then receive approval from the state before using the test.
The hospital states that the best steps for people to take are to wash hands frequently, don’t touch your face, stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing. For questions or concerns, call any of the following locations for more information:
- Caliente Clinic: (775) 726-3121
- Alamo Clinic: (775) 725-3364
- Grover C. Dils Medical Center: (775) 726-3171