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August 13, 2020

7/2/2020 10:44:00 AM
UHH CEO Lisa Schnedler discusses hospital COVID updates with Dodgeville Kiwanis
The Kiwanis Club of Dodgeville had a virtual meeting Monday with Upland Hills Health CEO Lisa Schnedler to hear updates about the hospital, relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When we were told about COVID and how severe this really could be the hospital was absolutely firing on all cylinders," Schnedler said. "We had brought on all of these new surgeons, and we were just beginning to go public with our successful capital campaign."
It was in early March when the hospital was advised to be prepared for COVID-19, and it came down to what it meant for the hospital and for rural Iowa County.
"For the sake of not having any understanding of what this virus was like and so we notified the board on March 11," Schnedler said. "The board was in complete agreement, and we started just shutting services down. "That was to be able to give us a little bit of time and a little bit of space to learn how we could offer care in an unknown environment in a safe fashion."
It was noted that 87% of Upland Hills Health's revenue comes from "non-inpatient areas."
The hospital closed down nearly all non urgent services, and utilized patient care areas into respiratory and non respiratory centers, due to the virus spreading through droplets.
"We knew that we had to isolate anybody that looked like they had COVID coming in, or could potentially have COVID," Schnedler said. "We knew that we had asymptomatic residents out there who might be carrying COVID."
"The primary reason for such a big closure was to have the ability to use the intubation systems in the OR, if it ever came to that point," Schnedler added.
Schnedler provided Kiwanis members with a timeline of the hospital amidst the pandemic.
In mid March, Upland Hills Health restricted movement on the hospital campus, and began implementing telemedicine visits. Cardiac and Rehab, and volunteer services were suspended on March 17. On March 20, both Mt. Horeb and Mineral Point Clinics opened for well patient visits, while Dodgeville opened for sick patient visits.
The following week, Upland Hills Health opened the first floor for a non-COVID patient unit, with the second floor strictly for COVID positive patients.
When Iowa County received its first confirmed COVID positive case on March 23, employee screenings and temperature checks before work were implemented.
The pivotal moment came when it was realized that test results could be observed within three days.
"Once we saw that Madison was not going to be overrun by COVID patients, we knew that patients could go to those hospitals because they have access to the research going on that we don't have," Schnedler said. "We started to realize that we could start to reopen."
Reopening processes began with the Montfort Clinic reopening on April 21. The Mineral Point Therapy Center reopened in May followed by the Spring Green clinic opening on May 18.
In mid May, surgeries were able to resume. Earlier this month the Mineral Point Wellness Center and Aquatic Centers opened their doors, followed by the Barneveld Clinic opening its doors on June 8.
"I want to thank the community for being such good stewards to our community and yourself by isolating and by wearing face coverings," Schnedler said to the Kiwanis members. "By doing everything that was asked, and even though the numbers may be going up, we certainly are lower than all of the surrounding communities. We are watching it very closely and we will react accordingly and if we need to segment areas."
At this time the hospital is holding off having volunteers, as the hospital is in a BLUE status.
"We're in the blue now, meaning we are in the best situation we can be in with what we have right now," Schnedler said. "Until we get to green, we're not talking volunteers because the risk is still too high at this point."

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