Alomere Health has decided to postpone all elective surgeries and procedures at its hospital and clinics effective Thursday, March 19.

Alomere said the effort will protect patients and medical professionals, as well as preserve supplies in anticipation of the influx of COVID-19 to the communities it serves.

Elective surgeries and procedures are considered to be non-urgent, non-time sensitive planned surgery such as a hip replacement and a routine colonoscopy. While Alomere Health does not have a specific timeline on when it will allow elective surgeries and procedures again, it’s following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health, which have recommended a six to eight week pause.

“Managing our local health care’s surge capacity and strategic supplies is paramount at this time of uncertainty,” said Carl Vaagenes, CEO of Alomere Health.

Dr. Deb Dittberner, CMO at Alomere Health, added, “We need to keep our health care workers healthy and able to take care of our most critically ill patients. Those who have COVID-19 and those with other serious illness.”

According to the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, their recommendation is to discontinue elective procedures and failure to do so will result in those health systems being the last to get their supplies restocked through the strategic national stockpile of medical supplies.

He added, “We’re hopeful that if we lean into this, then maybe in about six to eight weeks, we’ll get over the majority of the pain, we will have flattened the curve, and we can start to slowly get back to life as normal.”

The generally agreed upon current phrase regarding social distancing is to remain six feet away from others. Alomere Health prefers to use the phrase shelter in place instead as that is its recommendation that people avoid public venues during this crucial time.

Alomere Health again advises everyone to practice the four ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19:

1. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, isolate at home and connect with your health care provider.

2. Practice appropriate sheltering in place, staying home when possible and maintaining a six-foot separation from others when in a group.

3. Cover your cough and sneeze at all times.

4. Practice appropriate hand washing at all times.