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UnityPoint opens respiratory clinic

Second Avenue North location has separate entrance

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
The Respiratory Illness Clinic at 1428 Second Ave. N. is open for patients experiencing symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing. All patients, regardless of circumstance, are asked to call before coming to the clinic.

A clinic dedicated to serving patients with respiratory illnesses amid the potential spread of COVID-19 is open at 1428 Second Ave. N.

The clinic opened on Monday. It is located in the same building as UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine — Second Avenue North.

All patients, whether family medicine or respiratory, are asked to call in advance before coming to the facility.

“We are strongly encouraging all patients to please call your provider before coming to our facilities in order to first assess symptoms over the phone,” said Leah Glasgo, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge.

Alyssa Stanek, senior marketing communications specialist for UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge, said online scheduling for walk-ins has been turned off to encourage people to call in advance.

When a patient calls 515-574-6110 or any UnityPoint clinic in the Fort Dodge region with symptoms that include fever, cough and difficulty breathing, they will be screened by a nurse over the phone, and then be advised on next steps.

Stanek said next steps could include an appointment at the Respiratory Illness Clinic at Second Avenue North or symptom management at home.

“The recommendation to patients and the community to call ahead is extremely important to limit exposure to illness,” Stanek said. “These precautions will help protect others from potentially being exposed to COVID-19.”

Family Medicine — Second Avenue North will continue to see patients unrelated to COVID-19, Stanek reported.

“The Respiratory Clinic is isolated from the rest of the clinic,” Glasgo said. “Patients with symptoms that include fever, cough and difficulty breathing will use a dedicated entrance.”

Patients being seen in the Respiratory Illness Clinic are instructed to park in the west parking lot, where a team member will be there to assist them and direct them to use a separate entrance.

Stanek said the Second Avenue North site was chosen for the Respiratory Illness Clinic because of its convenient location and potential for creative ways to test patients, should it be needed.

Stanek said the clinic space maintains the ability to provide well services to patients through separate clinic locations, waiting areas and can accommodate the practice of social distancing. She said because it’s an off-campus location, it helps to limit visitors to the hospital.

The respiratory clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If patient volumes increase to the level where the entire clinic is needed for patients with COVID-19 symptoms, Second Avenue North would fully transition to the Respiratory Illness Clinic, Stanek reported.

If that did happen, patients whose primary care provider is located at Family Medicine — Second Avenue North would then see their provider at Family Medicine — Kenyon Road.

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