Hospitals share various updates


Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, Lakewood Health System in Staples, Riverwood Healthcare in Aitkin, and CHI St. Gabriel’s Health in Little Falls are following the recommendations and daily updates from the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health around COVID-19 assessment and prevention.

In some cases, that means pausing elective surgeries and routine appointments. As community healthcare providers, their top priority is the safety and well-being of patients, staff and the communities they serve.

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center

Clinic hours

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center is limiting access to its physician clinics to protect its patients, residents and staff.

Beginning Wednesday, April 1, the Breezy Point Clinic’s new hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The Longville Clinic’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Visit or for updates.

Respiratory Clinic

To protect patients, residents and staff, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center has created a special Respiratory Clinic to be operational through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Respiratory Clinic reserved for patients with COVID-19 symptoms is operational in Bay 6 of the Crosby physician clinic. Patients should use CRMC’s Emergency Department entrance.

Parking across from the entrance has been reserved for Respiratory Clinic patients.

Visit or for updates.

Virtual visits

To help protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, CRMC is offering patients the opportunity to use virtual visits to meet with their healthcare provider. All this can be done without having to come into a building.


Patients with a good internet connection can do this from home. Devices that may be used include a laptop with a camera and microphone or a smartphone. For patients who have no internet access or who feel their internet might not support a visit, CRMC has designated parking spots outside of the Care Center to the left of the main entrance canopy to use while attending these virtual visits.

To schedule a virtual visit, call 218-546-7000. The nurses and scheduling staff will guide you through the process of getting set up for the virtual visit.

Free phone screening

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center is offering free phone screening with a nurse for the coronavirus (COVID-19) to those who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus.

The purpose of the screening is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes. It is not necessary to be a CRMC patient to use the service and receive the free screening.

CRMC implemented the phone screening based upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to quickly and safely assist patients with cough, fever, shortness of breath or other health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses will evaluate responses and provide patients with appropriate care recommendations or other instructions if needed.

To access the nurses, call 218-546-7000 anytime.

End-of-life visits


Following Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s Care Center and Heartwood are limiting the number of visitors in end-of-life situations at one time to two people.

Facilities are required to restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. CRMC’s Geriatrics Medical Director Dr. David Goodwin has defined end-of-life situation as a life expectancy of less than one month or actively dying.

All visitors entering the facility will be required to perform hand hygiene, use a face mask and complete a screening which includes symptoms of illness, fever or respiratory symptoms. Those with symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat) will not be permitted to enter the facility at any time, even in end-of-life situations. Visits will be restricted to the resident’s room.

Visitors should refrain from physical contact with residents and others while in the facility. For example, practice social distances with no hand shaking or hugging, and remaining six feet apart.

Visit or for Coronavirus updates.

Essentia Health

Clinic visitor restrictions

Beginning Wednesday, April 1, patients visiting any Essentia Health clinic are asked to attend their appointments alone.

Limited exceptions include one additional person being allowed to accompany children, obstetric patients and adult patients that require assistance. Anyone accompanying a patient to a clinic appointment is required to be healthy and at least 18 years old.


This follows recent restrictions placed on visitors at Essentia hospitals. These steps are geared toward slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting patients, staff and the communities Essentia Health serves.

Video appointments

Essentia Health had been planning to introduce virtual visit technology later this spring, but that technology has been fast-tracked because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patients can now schedule a virtual visit, which is a video appointment that occurs directly between a provider and a patient. The patient can do the visit from the comfort of their home and use their own technology such as a computer, tablet or smartphone.

This virtual visit model of providing care is being used for many primary care and specialty visits at Essentia Health.

Patients can call their regular clinic’s appointment line to schedule a virtual visit or schedule through the MyHealth website or the MyChart app. At a set appointment time, they’ll log into the MyHealth website or the MyChart app and the visit will start. The patient and provider will converse with audio and video like they would if they were together in the exam room.

These virtual visits are covered the same way an in-person visit is through most insurances.

Before your visit, you’ll need to have a MyHealth account (sign up at and Zoom, which can be downloaded through your app store or the website.


Learn more about virtual visits at

COVID-19 testing

Essentia Health is following guidelines established by the Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin departments of health regarding who is eligible for COVID-19 testing.

Due to a national shortage of COVID-19 laboratory testing materials, adjustments have been made to testing criteria to focus on the most susceptible people.

A drive-thru testing site has been established at the Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic exclusively for those who fit the current MDH testing criteria and have first completed an E-visit.

“We recommend patients schedule an E-visit or call our toll-free number if they are concerned about COVID-19 symptoms,” Essentia Health Infectious Disease physician Rajesh Prabhu said in a news release.

This allows schedulers to screen for key symptoms - shortness of breath, fever and cough, along with known exposure to COVID-19 and travel to an affected area.

It is important to note, however, that if your symptoms are severe and you must see a doctor, call and you will get in for care.


Patients with an undiagnosed fever and/or acute respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) should self-quarantine for seven days after illness onset, or 72 hours after a fever is gone without taking fever-reducing medications, and improvement of respiratory symptoms, whichever is longer.

Patients with symptoms who are not able to be tested should isolate themselves from household and intimate contact as much as possible and limit their activities in public for 14 days. They also should monitor for symptoms.

People who have suspected or known cases of COVID-19, but who are not severely ill, should stay home while they recover. Older adults, as well as patients with underlying health conditions, should contact their health care provider for additional guidance. Someone with severe symptoms should start an E-visit before coming into a facility.

Up-to-date information is available at or by calling our COVID-19 hotline at 833-494-0836. E-visits can be scheduled by visiting


Essentia Health is postponing all routine appointments and elective procedures.

  • Routine clinic appointments are being rescheduled unless a physician or advance practice provider sees a need for an office visit. Patients will be called or receive a message through Essentia MyHealth to reschedule their appointments.

  • Patients may be offered a telephone visit, an e-visit or an online video visit through MyHealth.

  • Elective surgeries and procedures will be postponed for two weeks if the delay will not adversely impact a patient’s condition. Patients will be called or receive a message through Essentia MyHealth to reschedule their surgeries and procedures.

The decision was made to protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Peter Henry, Essentia Health’s chief medical officer. The decision also allows Essentia Health to deploy staff and resources to prepare for expected infection outbreaks in communities it serves.
“We recognize that postponing routine appointments and elective procedures is disruptive to our patients and staff but we always put safety first,” Henry stated in a news release. “We want to be ready to provide the care that our communities need in this unprecedented time.”

Postponing nonessential appointments and elective procedures is in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as recommendations from the surgeon general and the American College of Surgeons.


Due to the presence of COVID-19 in our community, CentraCare will be canceling and rescheduling patients who have elective procedures, surgeries or physicals/well exams.

Patients with the following will be contacted to be rescheduled:

  • Elective patient procedures/surgeries.

  • Most physicals and well exams, including pediatrics.

  • Chronic visits that can be postponed or carried out by phone or video.

  • Many outpatient rehab appointments.

CentraCare is screening patients at the front door before they enter clinic locations. After entering, patients must practice social distancing, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others, if possible. CentraCare facilities will work to separate patients with symptoms of respiratory illness from other patients.
Those with symptoms of respiratory illness, are asked to do one of the following:

  • Visit CentraCare eClinic for online, phone or video visit, 24/7. Screening is free of charge.

  • Call CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200 to speak with a nurse, 24/7.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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