With a slowdown in Juneau COVID-19 cases, Bartlett prepares to resume elective surgeries

A triage tent sits outside the emergency department entrance to Bartlett Regional Hospital on March 13. (Photo courtesy of Katie Bausler)

Bartlett Regional Hospital is not currently treating any patients for COVID-19.

Chief Operating Officer Billy Gardner said efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in Juneau appear to be paying off.

“We’re seeing the line — the curve — flatten, as they say, in Juneau. So that’s very positive,” Gardner said.

Juneau’s last positive case of COVID-19 was identified on April 21, but city data traces the onset of symptoms for that individual to April 15. The city and borough has seen 27 confirmed cases since March. According to city data, 22 of those people have now recovered.

All visitors to the hospital are still being screened on arrival. Gardner said they’re only allowing patients’ visitors in limited cases, like mothers in labor and parents of minors.

But he said people should not avoid going to the emergency room if they need immediate medical attention.

Starting next week, hospitals around the state are allowed to resume most elective surgeries. Gardner said Bartlett is busy getting ready to begin offering services like cancer screenings once again.

“We detect up to nine cases of breast cancer a month on average,” he said. “So we need to get that service back up and running at full speed as soon as possible.”

Earlier this month, the hospital reported an expected revenue shortfall of $4 million for the month due to the suspension of elective surgeries.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Juneau’s last positive case of COVID-19 was identified on April 15. In fact, the patient’s positive test was reported to the city on April 21.


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