Surgeries resuming at hospital

EBCH to work back to “full capacity” within two-to-three weeks

by Tom Coombe
After a nearly two-month hiatus, elective surgeries will resume at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.
Hospital officials have announced plans to resume procedures that had been curtailed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jodi Martin, marketing and communications team leader at EBCH, said the hospital will start the process over the next several days.
“As coordinating schedules with providers and patients can take some time, we can expect to start slowly, and be working back to full capacity within two-to-three weeks,” said Martin.
Surgeries deemed “time-sensitive” will be given top priority, and those who had a surgery scheduled prior to the shutdown, and have not yet been contacted by EBCH, should call the hospital’s surgery department at 365-8724.
Over the last three years EBCH has worked to bolster surgical procedures in an effort to build revenue at the hospital, an independent, locally-operated facility.
But since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, surgeries have been curtailed as part of sweeping restrictions enacted by Gov. Tim Walz.
Walz eased some of those restrictions last week, and indicated Monday that hospitals could again provide elective surgeries, within guidelines put in place by the Minnesota Department of Health.
EBCH currently offers appointments with three specialty providers, who will see patients during their regularly scheduled dates throughout the rest of the month and in to early-June.
Guidelines similar to surgical procedures will be in place for visits to specialty providers, according to a news release issued by EBCH Tuesday.
Visitors to the hospital campus will be required to follow all protocols, including wearing a mask, completing a brief questionnaire and a temperature check upon arrival.
Specialty providers will be on the campus as follows:
• Dr. Sam Harms, orthopaedics, May 13;
• Dr. Katie Evans, podiatry, May 15;
• Dr. Nick Johnson, urology, June 1.
As of late Wednesday, there have been no reported local cases of the virus - known also as COVID-19 - and Ely’s hospital remained relatively quiet.
EBCH is a 21-bed, critical access hospital, and at the onset of the pandemic hospital officials said that the most severely stricken patients with the coronavirus would be stabilized and moved to another facility.