FHN Opens Acute Respiratory Clinic in Anticipation of Flu Season and COVID-19 Pandemic Cold-Weather Surge

September 30, 2020 – FHN has opened an Acute Respiratory Clinic (ARC) designed to accelerate diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illnesses such as the flu and COVID-19 during the cold weather seasons ahead, where the confluence of both of these diseases at the same time will likely intensify the need for safe, rapid patient services. One of the first of its type in the area, the ARC at FHN is set up exclusively for patients with acute respiratory symptoms such as those resulting from influenza, COVID-19, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); patients with chronic, ongoing respiratory conditions should consult their traditional providers.

“The ARC has been customized to ensure that symptomatic patients are kept separate from other FHN patients,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer Kathryn J. Martinez, MSN, RN, FACHE. “The isolated location and design of the clinic and its processes will limit the exposure of patients, the public, and our staff to patients with symptomatic respiratory droplets. During an appointment at the ARC, the provider will provide a quick physical assessment, which can then be followed up with a flu test or a COVID-19 test as needed. Without leaving the clinic, the provider can order medications, do blood work if needed for these conditions, and then direct follow-up care for the patient's FHN primary care provider.”

Martinez added that all ARC patients will receive a follow-up phone call from a nurse at the ARC within 24-48 hours of their visit to relay any test results and discuss further instructions.

The ARC, which is located on the east side of the lower level of FHN Specialty Care - Harlem Avenue at 25 N. Harlem Avenue in Freeport (follow directional signage on Harlem), will be open for appointments 7 days a week (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). The clinic has three separate treatment rooms and a limited-space waiting room area. If there are more patients at a given time than the waiting room can safely accommodate with required social distancing, patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles and will be called when it is safe for them to enter the clinic. All furniture and equipment have been specially selected for quick, efficient, frequent cleaning and all staff there will wear full-isolation personal protective equipment (PPE) such as wipe-able gowns, high-level masks, and gloves. All patients must wear a mask and adhere to social distancing requirements while at the ARC.

If ARC patients need a COVID-19 test, they will receive it outdoors at a covered, protected area to minimize aerosolized infection transference (research has shown that infection is less likely to occur outdoors where air circulation is much better).

ARC patients must have an FHN primary care provider and can make appointments to be seen at the ARC through that provider or by contacting FHN Ambulatory Patient Services or FHN Central Scheduling at (815) 599-7530. In cases of severe respiratory distress or other life-threatening symptoms, individuals should call 911 or go to the emergency room at FHN Memorial Hospital.