Essentia postpones appointments, elective procedures

Essentia postpones appointments, elective procedures Photo: WDIO-TV file

Updated: March 17, 2020 06:28 PM

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Essentia Health is postponing all routine appointments and elective procedures for two weeks in an effort to protect patients and staff.


Essentia announced the decision late Tuesday afternoon, saying it will affect appointments and elective procedures scheduled at any Essentia hospital or clinic from March 18 to April 1.  No decisions have been made about appointments and procedures after April 1.

"We recognize that postponing routine appointments and elective procedures is disruptive to our patients and staff, but we always put safety first," Essentia chief medical officer Dr. Peter Henry said in a news release.  "We want to be ready to provide the care that our communities need in this unprecedented time."

Henry said the move will allow Essentia to deploy staff and resources to prepare for expected infection outbreaks. As of Tuesday, there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases in northern Minnesota or northern Wisconsin.

Elective surgeries and procedures are expected to be postponed for two weeks unless a delay would adversely impact a patient's condition.  Office appointments are expected to be rescheduled in four to six weeks unless patients choose an option of a telephone visit, E-visit, or an online video visit through MyHealth, or unless the physician sees a need for an office visit sooner.

Essentia will also lock most doors at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth beginning Wednesday morning. However, the emergency department will remain open 24/7 and the Fourth Street entrance will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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