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Elective procedures delayed; St. John's Health institutes additional COVID preparation measures

Elective procedures delayed; St. John's Health institutes additional COVID preparation measures

St. John’s Health has responded to a request from the White House to all hospitals to suspend elective procedures by alerting staff and physicians to prepare to postpone elective procedures for the foreseeable future, effective March 21st. No end date has been set.

In a briefing on March 18, Vice President Mike Pence said the action was needed to preserve medical supplies and resources for the fight against COVID-19. "We're asking every American, and our medical community leaders, and hospitals to partner with us … to ensure that medical supplies and medical capacity go where they're needed," said Pence, who leads the administration's Coronavirus Task Force.

As COVID-19 mitigation efforts are being deployed throughout Teton County, St. John’s Health wants to thank each individual and every organization for their work and sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable from this disease and “flatten the curve." This will help ensure that our health infrastructure will maintain the capacity to care for our patients throughout this unprecedented event.

“Our healthcare workers, from every area of the system, are deeply grateful for the support of the community as they take care of COVID-related patients as well as the important medical needs of all our patients,” said CEO Paul Beaupre, MD.

Other announcements:

  • Testing: St. John’s has installed a new medical tent on the hospital campus as an additional site for physicians to send their patients for testing. Once the tent is operational and staff is trained, staff will support testing for patients deemed eligible to be tested by their physician as per CDC's stringent guidelines. Because testing availability at labs nationwide remains extremely limited, testing is not currently available for everyone who would like to be tested. The great majority of people with COVID-19 will not require medical treatment and should recover at home while self-isolating.
  • Resource Planning: All U.S. hospitals are taking action to accommodate a patient volume surge. St. John's continues to identify and procure supplies and equipment that may be necessary. Ongoing planning for staffing and facilities needs are underway. If the community continues to participate in mitigation efforts such as social distancing, the peak patient volume on any given day will be within a range where necessary care would be available without overwhelming the local health infrastructure.
  • Visitor restrictions: Patients are allowed one designated visitor (over the age of 18) each day, who will be screened upon entry. Both parents will be allowed to visit a child. No visitors with fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms or confirmed COVID-19 are permitted. Volunteering throughout the hospital and Living Center is suspended at this time.
  • Campus and community safety: Patient care staff is evaluated each day for fever and respiratory symptoms. Where possible, technology that allows remote participation, work at home, and patient telehealth visits will be implemented. Public presentations, group meetings, and support groups are cancelled until future notice. Choices Café dining room is closed. “Grab and Go” items and room service will continue to be available. Events of the St. John’s Health Foundation are cancelled until further notice. (See for more information.)
  • Living Center is closed to visitors, family, and volunteers. All residents and staff are evaluated daily for fever and respiratory symptoms. In addition, communal dining and group activities have been cancelled. To read a letter from our Director of Senior Living, visit

For information about what to do if you are ill with flu-like symptoms or have concerns about your COVID-19 exposure due to travel or contact with affected persons, visit


Media contact:

Karen Connelly, Chief Communications Officer, St. John’s Health, 307.739.7380,