The COVID-19 pandemic has taught all of us so much. When the pandemic began, we here at HealthPartners and Park Nicollet moved quickly to implement several new safety measures in our clinics and hospitals so you could continue to get the top-quality care you need. We also expanded video visit options to help care come to you.

Thankfully, the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines has offered real hope that we might finally start to see things get back to normal.

We’re proud of how we’ve helped our patients and communities continue to get the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we look forward to providing safe, excellent care in the months and years ahead.

Here are just some of our safety and security measures we’re continuing to follow so you can enjoy peace of mind when you visit:

1. Following expert guidance in our hospitals and clinics

Understanding how disease spreads is one of the best ways to keep ourselves and others safe. Our team of infectious disease experts specializes in preventing and treating illnesses that can spread from person to person. Our specialists are helping guide our work and ensure we’re following the best, most up-to-date safety protocols in all of our locations.

In addition to help from our own experts, we’re following – or exceeding – safety guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDH) and the Minnesota Board of Dentistry. We’re working closely with these organizations and many others around the country on COVID-19 prevention, screening, testing, treatment and vaccination.

That means that whether you need care for COVID-19 or any other condition, we’re already familiar with the best ways to care for you safely.

2. Treating COVID-19 patients separately from others

When someone has, or is suspected to have, COVID-19, we evaluate and treat them separately from others.

By caring for COVID-19 patients apart from others, we can more easily see and treat patients for conditions that aren’t related to COVID-19. This helps reduce the chance for COVID-19 to spread and makes it safer for everyone to get the health care that’s right for them.

3. Extra cleaning and disinfection protocols

We’ve added extra surface cleanings, disinfection and safety protocols at all of our locations, in addition to our regular rigorous cleaning standards. This includes doors, lobbies, restrooms, waiting rooms, appointment rooms, furniture, vents, equipment and many more public and private spaces at every facility.

All our team members are doing their part to keep our clinics, specialty centers and hospitals sanitized. Our care sites are well stocked with disinfectants and other cleaning supplies. We’re going above and beyond to make sure every surface, seat, high-touch and high-traffic area is hygienic and ready for you when you come to visit us.

4. Making social distancing easier in our hospitals and clinics

To keep you safe, we’ve modified our waiting rooms and lobbies so patients can stay at least six feet (about two arm lengths) apart. This helps keep everyone safer and healthier.

When you check in for your appointment – or if there’s a short wait – new layouts and helpful signage make it easy to know where to go and when. In addition, we’ve begun online check-in and self-arrival at some locations to reduce the amount of time spent in public areas.

We’re also limiting visitors in our locations to reduce the number of people in our waiting rooms and lobbies. By having less people in our facilities, there’s less chance for viruses and other germs to circulate. That makes it easier for us to care for those who need it.

5. Wellness screenings for every patient and visitor

Keeping people with COVID-19 isolated from others helps minimize the spread of the illness. That’s why every patient and visitor is screened for symptoms before entering our care locations.

If a patient or visitor reports symptoms – or we notice any symptoms – we help that person get the right care with standardized precautions and procedures.

6. Mandatory masks or face coverings

Even though many masking requirements are being relaxed, we still require all patients and visitors to wear a mask while in our facilities. The CDC advises that even people vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue to wear masks when in hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. All our team members wear masks across all our care facilities.

If a patient or visitor arrives without a mask or face covering, we’ll provide a disposable one to wear during their visit.

7. Required COVID-19 vaccination for all our team members

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 has been proven to be the best defense against the coronavirus and its variants.

That’s why, by the end of October 2021, all our team members will be fully vaccinated (except those who have declined vaccination due to a documented religious or medical reason).

Vaccination requirements for our team members are just one more part of our dedication to your health, preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting everyone in our communities.

So what can I do to keep myself and others safe?

While we’re taking every precaution to help keep our patients and team members safe, we can’t do it without your assistance. Here are a few, simple things you can do to stop the spread:

Get vaccinated against COVID-19

If you haven’t already, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the most important thing you can do to help keep yourself and others safe. All authorized vaccines are safe and effective, and increasing the vaccination rate is key to helping put this pandemic behind us for good.

Wash your hands often

Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds when you wash your hands. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol. Hand sanitizer stations are available for our patients throughout our lobbies and care facilities.

Safety first doesn’t mean care second

Your health is essential. If something’s bothering you, you have a chronic condition or you’re looking for preventive care, it’s important to get the right diagnosis or treatment so you can feel your best. Putting off health care may result in complications later or make your recovery more difficult.

When it’s time to schedule (or reschedule) an appointment, call your clinic or make an appointment online. We’ll always guide you to the best care option for your needs, whether that’s a video visit, phone visit or in-person visit.

Our medical and dental clinics, specialty centers, and hospitals are still (and always will be) safe places to visit. If you put it off during the pandemic, don’t delay care any longer – we’re always here to help you with all your health care needs and find the right treatment options for you.