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5/15/20 CEO Update: COVID-19

5/15/20 CEO Update: COVID-19

This week we had one positive COVID-19 patient admission and one suspected COVID-19 patient in our Birth Center whose test result later came back negative. We had zero transfers and zero ICU COVID-19 patients. We are now doing COVID-19 PCR testing for patients prior to all non-emergency surgeries. Our hospital staff is happy to again be helping patients address their need for vital services such as joint replacement.

  • What's new this week:
  • Primary and Specialty Care: I’m happy to report that our clinics are also becoming gradually busier. We recognize that telehealth virtual visits are here to stay as part of the overall healthcare people can receive. St. John’s quick implementation of telehealth in response to COVID-19 was recognized this week in “Becker’s Hospital Review” for leading the way among rural hospitals. Our 11 primary care and physician specialty clinics are currently seeing up to 100 patients daily via our virtual care platform. There will always be important reasons to see your doctor in the clinic as well. With our new safety protocols in place, the St. John’s Health physician clinics have begun welcoming patients back to the office. We are now seeing approximately 100 patients per day in person. These are encouraging numbers but have me concerned still that people may be postponing appointments and screenings they need. You should feel confident that you’re safe in our care when you come to the hospital or clinics.
  • PCR Testing Update: We have taken additional steps to ensure that we are getting highly reliable results from our Abbott ID Now active disease testing platform. We have done our own validation testing and reviewed major validation studies done by large health systems. The leadership of the hospital and medical staff are confident that our testing platforms are helping to keep our community safe.

    This week we began our random COVID-19 PCR testing for employees. We want to develop our ability to identify asymptomatic individuals who could possibly transmit coronavirus within the community. With this information, individuals with infection can be isolated and contact traced in order to stem the spread of disease in Teton County. I am hopeful that as the supply chain for test materials opens, we will be able to offer rapid response PCR testing to identify active disease and that the cost of this testing will be reduced as we move our testing in-house. We are avidly exploring testing platforms under development and evaluating them based on validity of test results, availability of adequate supplies, speed of results, and cost to patients.

  • Antibody Testing Update: With our planned Abbott IgG antibody test standing up well in scientific scrutiny by the FDA and others, we plan to begin testing frontline healthcare workers and emergency responders in early June. Once we assess the usefulness, we can make a determination about expanding this kind of testing to other parts of the community.
  • Thank You: Though the Wyoming National Guard flyover of C-130’s was cancelled due to weather, the turnout and presence of Fire/EMS made the occasion memorable and special for our staff. The business community has shown tremendous support for St. John’s during this crisis, and we want to do everything we can to help these businesses get back on their feet as safely as possible. In addition, I want to thank St. John’s Health Foundation board member Bob Grady, whose efforts led to the arrival of a shipment of KN95 masks on our loading dock. We are also grateful to Gavin Fine and his team at the Fine Dining Group for bringing in a great meal for staff this week.

Thank you for wearing face masks to keep our community safe.

Paul Beaupre, MD, CEO

St. John’s Health

For more information on Coronavirus from St. John's Health, visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage and subscribe below.


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Media contact:

Karen Connelly, Chief Communications Officer,, 307.739.7380