Published on April 21, 2020

Despite COVID-19, hospitals remain safe, poised to provide necessary care

Don’t ignore serious symptoms and delay care that could be critical

As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty is an unfortunate part of our daily lives. Change is inevitable. One thing that remains the same, however, is that hospitals provide the safest settings for much of the care our patients require.

That includes labor and delivery.

At Essentia Health, we are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state departments of health, to continue providing care while minimizing the risk to our patients. We have taken several steps to protect expectant mothers and their babies. Among them, all staff, patients and visitors are screened for COVID-19 each time they enter one of our facilities. We also limit the number of visitors to help contain the spread of this virus and minimize the chances of exposure.

“It’s really important that our community knows that during this scary time, the hospital is still a safe place to have your baby,” said Zada Dunaiski, a nurse midwife at Essentia. “So if you were planning a hospital birth, please continue with those plans, because having your baby in a hospital or a freestanding birth center are the safest places to have your baby.”

Dunaiski added that at Essentia we “have great RN support, and we have physicians, midwives and residents in-house ready to help you have a baby and make the experience the best it can be.”

To help our patients practice social distancing, some prenatal and post-partum appointments can be conducted online. To discuss appointment options, including a virtual visit from the comfort of your home, talk to your provider. You also can call (844) 663-1068.

Cardiologists also ready
At Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, cardiologists are available 24 hours a day.

It’s vitally important to seek care if you are experiencing serious symptoms, such as chest pain; shortness of breath; nausea/vomiting; sweating; and jaw or arm pain. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, please call 911.

We understand people may be reluctant to visit hospitals over fears of being exposed to COVID-19. But ignoring severe symptoms can be life threatening. Our highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of our patients, staff and communities. If you need to be seen, we are here for you.

Our Heart and Vascular Center is fully staffed and ready to take care of any patient with prior heart problems or current symptoms that might be related to their heart, such as those who might be having a heart attack or stroke.

“We want you to know that we are here for you and for your heart,” said Dr. Catherine Benziger, a cardiologist at Essentia. “Don’t ignore your symptoms. The Heart and Vascular Center is open and we are seeing patients with all sorts of heart conditions during this difficult time. Please do not delay your care.”

Call the Heart and Vascular Center at (218) 786-3443 to schedule a virtual visit and discuss your condition with a provider.

Watch a video from nurse midwife Dunaiski. Watch a video from cardiologist Dr. Benziger.

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team.