Glacial Ridge Health System notes a sharp rise in COVID cases

Glacial Ridge Health System is dedicated to providing the highest level of healthcare for all area residents, even while the COVID-19 situation in our community continues to be challenging. Hospital beds are at or near capacity here and around the state-including the hospitals to which we would normally send our most critically ill patients – and Emergency Departments are crowded, yet GRHS staff remain committed to providing their signature "heartfelt care" amid rising COVID concerns.

The staff at Glacial Ridge is carefully monitoring the testing and positive cases of COVID in their area. The appointments for testing remain in high demand and significantly increased in the past week. Of the 1,557 lab tests completed in November, 402 (25.8%) were positive. In the first three days of December, testing numbers continued to be over 60 each day with a 30% average positivity.

"If this high number of tests continues, it may affect our ability to test everyone the day they request it," said Kirk Stensrud, CEO at Glacial Ridge. "The resources needed to administer the tests will be stretched due to the clinic staff that handles the processing, nursing staff to swab for the tests, lab staff to process the tests, and the clinic nurses to call 60+ patients a day with results."

The number of available hospital beds is also nearing capacity at Glacial Ridge Hospital. If necessary, Glacial Ridge is prepared to implement alternate staffing/care delivery plans and may need to delay preventative care appointments and screenings.

For those needing urgent or same-day care, or care for chronic conditions, there are many protocols in place at Glacial Ridge to keep community members and healthcare staff safe.

"Above all, it's important to get vaccinated," said Dr. Thomas Haus, a physician at Glacial Ridge. "If you've had one shot, get the second one, and if it's been six months after your second vaccination, schedule an appointment for your booster. What we are seeing is that boosters are critical for continued protection."

How can you help?

Please get your COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

• Vaccines are available for ages 5+.

• They are safe and effective in reducing illness and hospitalizations and preventing death.

• Booster shots are essential to continue preventing severe illness and hospitalizations.

• Schedule your vaccine or booster by calling the COVID Vaccination Line at 320.331.2121. Leave a message, and a receptionist will call you back to schedule.

For those with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, do not go directly to Glacial Ridge's Walk-In Clinic. Please call the 24-hour COVID-19 HOTLINE at 320.334.5481 for further instructions before arriving at the Walk-In Clinic and/or to schedule a test. Walk-in testing is not available. (Due to a significant increase in the number of phone calls, it is taking longer for calls to be answered-they appreciate your understanding!) 

For non-emergency situations, please schedule an appointment with your provider online or by calling the clinic. (We apologize that it is taking longer to answer calls due to the extremely high number of calls. Please be patient with our receptionists!) 

• Glenwood Medical Center: 320.634.5157

• Brooten Medical Center: 320.346.2272

• Starbuck Medical Center: 320.239.2200

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

For an up-to-date overview of the new COVID-19 cases in the Belgrade, Brooten and Elrosa zip codes, click here: B-B-E Zip Code COVID-19 report. Figures have been added for the Glenwood zip code as well.


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