CHI Health St. Mary's provides coronavirus statement

Staff Writer
Nebraska City News-Press

Dr. Daniel DeFreece, president of CHI Health St. Mary's, provided the statement below to the News-Press on Friday, March 13, in response to a question about changes in clinic and hospital routines caused by the COVID-19 virus.

At CHI Health St. Mary’s we are screening each patient who comes into our facility. We’re also asking people to call ahead of time if they plan to come in and are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus. This will allow our team adequate time to prepare and put on proper protective gear. With notice ahead of time, we will meet patients at their vehicle or outside the hospital and provide them with a mask. We will then take them directly to a room, minimizing their contact with others to protect both themselves, our staff and other patients.

We are not only asking people to call ahead of time before coming into the hospital, but we’re encouraging people to use our online screening tool at This will help us limit exposure. They will be asked three questions online. Depending on how they answer, they will be referred to find more information, utilize our Virtual Care service or be connected with our Help Line. The Help Line is designated for high risk patients. Once they call, they’ll be put in contact with a provider within 30 minutes. So far 25,000 people have visited our questionnaire and 22 people have been sent on for further testing.

Aside from the help line, we’d like to stress that our Virtual Care service is a great way to get medical care for minor medical issues like a sinus infection or urinary tract infection without leaving your home. We have waived the $10 fee. It is now a FREE virtual visit. We’re encouraging the public to use this service for non-emergency, common health needs instead of coming into the hospital. Limiting contact helps reduce exposure. Virtual care can be accessed at Again, the best part: it’s FREE.

We are limiting the number of visitors to our clinic, ER and Medical/Surgical areas.  This situation is fluid so could change from day to day.

We continue to work closely with the local and state health department.