Information about COVID-19
(Novel Coronavirus)

NOTICE ABOUT HOSPITAL SERVICES

Three Rivers Hospital is open and treating patients in our 24-hour Emergency Room.
We also have emergency surgery, Acute Care, and laboratory and radiology services.
If you need emergency care, please do not postpone it.
We have masks available for patients, and
our staff and providers are taking precautions to keep everyone safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The novel coronavirus is a respiratory infection that originated in China in December 2019. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease that results from this coronavirus. Due to international travel and the highly contagious nature of this virus, it has spread to other areas of the world, including the United States. It has several possible symptoms (see the FAQ below for more information).

Three Rivers Hospital is working to stay updated on a daily basis with Okanogan County Public Health and the state Department of Health, and we follow recommendations for patient care and infection prevention set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

A: The CDC has updated its list of common COVID-19 symptoms, which is not exhaustive:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Symptoms typically appear between 2-14 days after exposure. Those with compromised immune systems or existing health conditions may experience more severe symptoms or complications, and they are urged to take extra precautions. Some people may be unknowingly infected with the virus and do not have symptoms; however, they can still pass the virus to others.

A: On March 23, Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for all Washingtonians, and it has been extended through May 4. Three Rivers Hospital strongly encourages all residents to comply with this order to help keep our communities safe. The governor’s proclamation does the following:

  • Require every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
  • Ban all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
  • Close all businesses except essential businesses.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has a wealth of resources about how to stay healthy at home, in the workplace, and in the community; resource links are to the right on this page.
The best way to curb the spread of bacteria is to wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap, or use a 60-95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Hand-washing is especially important before eating, after using the bathroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Other precautions include:

  • Stay away from those who are sick
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially while out in public
  • Stay home if you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms
  • Cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow to reduce the spread of germs around you

People at higher risk for serious complications from the virus include:

  • People 60 and older
  • People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • People who have weakened immune systems
  • People who are pregnant

A: First, if you suspect you may have COVID-19 please stay home and limit your contact as much as possible with other people.

Due to the highly contagious nature of this virus, we ask that you please call the hospital at 509-689-2517 or the state Department of Health hotline to get a recommendation about whether you should continue to self-quarantine at home or come to the hospital for testing. The hotline number is 1-800-525-0127 (press # when you’re connected).

For the protection of our staff, physicians, and other patients, we ask that you please do not come to the hospital with these symptoms before calling us first. We will ask you to wait in your car for one of our nurses to triage you and determine the best course of action to prevent spreading the virus.

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

The below guidelines for discontinuing home isolation are from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

For individuals with symptoms who are confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and are directed to care for themselves at home, discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND,
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

Additional information for your household members, intimate partners, and caregivers is available at:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html.

A: We are following CDC recommendations and working closely with Okanogan County Public Health and the state Department of Health to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 as it progresses. Please refer to Public Health for current information about confirmed cases, recovered cases, and deaths in our area.

We urge all infected individuals who aren’t sick enough for hospitalization to please self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days.

Okanogan County commissioners have issued a state of emergency, and Three Rivers is establishing on-site Incident Command to handle a potential influx of patients or anything else that happens. We’re also working with other health care organizations throughout the region to share information and resources.

Our negative pressure room in the Emergency Department is ready to go in case any patients need to be isolated. We have implemented hospital-wide policies to guide the care of patients suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Employees in all departments are thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting their areas, especially our waiting rooms and other high traffic areas, multiple times a day and as needed. We are working with our vendors and Public Health to ensure that we have adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) and cleaning supplies on hand.

A: We have locked all main entrances and require every employee, provider, and visitor to be screened for COVID-like symptoms before they’re allowed to enter the building.

If you arrive at the hospital after regular business hours, please use the exterior courtesy phone in the area between the sets of double doors to call the nurse’s station and let them know you’re here. Someone will come out to help you.

Hospital employees who have contact with patients throughout the day will be screened for symptoms twice during their shifts. Those who can work from home have been requested to do so until further notice.

In addition, all staff and providers are required to wear masks throughout the hospital and clinic while in patient care areas, hallways, and other common areas where proper social distancing may not be possible.

This is Three Rivers Hospital’s visitation policy effective April 29, 2020:

We recognize that there are times when having a visitor or family member present is crucial. In these cases, visitors will be allowed based on the exceptions listed below. Please note that in all cases, a visitor will only be allowed if they do not have symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath). Additionally, children under the age of 18 will not be allowed except under extraordinary circumstances.

Exceptions include:

  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have two visitors.
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care, may have one visitor.
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregiver provides safety) may have one visitor.
  • Minors under the age of 18 may have one visitor, either a parent or a guardian.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have one visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the procedure/surgery.
  • When visitors are allowed, they must stay in the patient’s room the entire time of the visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient room, they must leave the facility.
  • Please note that visitors will not be allowed for patients with a pending or positive COVID-19 test.

COVID-19 suites:

  • Visitors will not enter patient rooms; they must use telecommunication.
  • Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for end-of-life care.

We very much appreciate everyone who has reached out asking how they can help Three Rivers Hospital during this time! Here are a few ways you can help:

  • We are accepting donations of handmade masks and gowns, which could be used by employees, patients, and visitors. Please drop them off at our Patient Registration desk at the hospital’s front entrance at 507 Hospital Way, Brewster.
  • Keep your appointments at our clinic, Three Rivers Family Medicine. Most visits are currently conducted using telemedicine, but some in-person appointments are available as needed. More information about how the clinic is prepared for COVID-19 can be found on their website.
  • Send a monetary donation by mail to the Three Rivers Hospital Foundation, which helps pay for patient care equipment and supply needs.
    • PO Box 455, Brewster WA 98812
  • We are also contending with the unfortunate situation of a lack of revenue while some of our non-emergent services have been suspended. Our situation is explained in this press release, and this video by The Washington Post. If any community members would like to help, we encourage them to call their state and U.S. representatives to explain how important Three Rivers is to you, your family, and our rural communities.
    • U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse: (202) 225-5816, or send him a message at this email address.
    • U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell: Multiple methods of contacting her are available here.
    • U.S. Senator Patty Murray: A fillable form and phone numbers can be found on her website here.
    • 12th District Rep. Mike Steele: (800) 562-6000, or email him at mike.steele@leg.wa.gov.
    • 12th District Rep. Keith Goehner: (509) 664-1274, (800) 562-6000, or email him here at keith.goehner@leg.wa.gov.
    • 12th District Sen. Brad Hawkins: (360) 786-7622, or email him at brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov.