Avera postpones some elective surgeries due to COVID-19

Due to the spread of COVID-19 cases, Avera is postponing some elective surgical procedures – including those at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. Critical procedures needed are still available.

A multidisciplinary group of Avera physicians developed a surgical case triage protocol that outlines a phased approach to decisions about elective surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients whose procedures are postponed are being contacted.

This announcement is in tandem with a recommendation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today that all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical and dental procedures be delayed during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“Our physicians are working to balance patient safety and quality with the resources available. These resources include protective equipment like gowns and masks and intensive care beds,” said Kevin Post, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group. “We emphasize that we are looking to postpone procedures, rather than cancelling them altogether.”

“The reality is clear and the stakes are high: we need to preserve personal protective equipment for those on the front lines of this fight,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Avera is joining with local, state and federal government and health agencies to stem the surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States, and protect the most vulnerable persons in our population.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we hope our patients understand; we would not be taking these measures unless we felt they were absolutely necessary,” Post said.

COVID-19 has become a pandemic, which means the virus will continue to circulate in communities. “Each one of us must do our part to reduce the number of cases. However, we are preparing for a possible surge of patients with this virus, so we need to be ready to care for them and have the materials to care for them,” Post said.