Living in a small community like western Wisconsin has amazing health care benefits. We are a short hop from big city hospital resources that provide complex care like ventilator management for patients with COVID-19, but we also have all the options of individualized care. Our regional hospitals had limited non-emergent care to flatten the curve, but are now able to start offering some of these services again.

The actions taken by our regional hospitals and the stay at home orders by the Minnesota and Wisconsin governors have spared western Wisconsin residents the devastating effects of COVID-19. Masters of Public Health experts Doctors Sarah and Ryan McFarland, MD of Hudson Physicians recommend:

“To continue good health in western Wisconsin, we need to continue healthy practices including safe distancing practices, hand washing, exercise, good sleep, and routine health care. Previous world epidemics have shown that the negative effects of epidemics are more severe and last longer when routine health care and vaccinations are interrupted. After the ebola epidemic, there was an outbreak of preventable diseases that increased death and disrupted the economy longer as parents stayed home to take care of disease preventative illnesses in their children.”

These two doctors lead the Hudson Physician COVID-19 task force. which created the protocols and changes in clinic workflow to address western Wisconsin’s first pandemic of our generation. The entire main floor is dedicated to in-person routine cares including annual physicals, well-child appointments, medication checks, sports medicine visits, OB and gynecologic care, and surgical consults.

Many patients have received phone calls notifying them about their recommended next routine visit -- clinic volumes have been low allowing staff to actively prepare for the expected high volume needs of the community when stay-at-home orders lift and schools resume. For high risk patients such as the elderly and people with heart or lung disease, it is appropriate for them to do a telemedicine visit (by skype or phone) with their provider. The telemedicine provider can then order the appropriate wellness orders such as vaccinations, lab draws, X-rays, and ultrasound.

Those patients who are not well are directed to Hudson Physicians’ Urgent Care which is now located upstairs, separate from the rest of the clinic. Urgent care patients have been impressed with the designated spaces – patients with possible COVID-19 and those without symptoms. All Urgent Care patients are wearing masks while the staff wear N95 masks..

Keep well, Western Wisconsin and a special thanks to all those 3Mers, construction workers, U-line co., and sewers who donated their time and supplies to keep your local health care workers and community safe!