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For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500. Find additional information and resources here and learn more about how we’re working to keep you healthy and safe.

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St. Luke's COVID-19: Resuming services; resources for patients

novel coronavirus
August 6, 2020
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • If you think you might have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed, use this self-triage tool to help you determine what to do. This also DOES NOT substitute for advice from your Primary Care Provider (PCP). Note: You will be required to login in to myChart to access the tool. If you need a myChart account, create one hereIf self-triage indicates that you should be tested, you will be able to schedule an appointment in myChart with a St. Luke's Clinic near you. 
  • You may also call our triage hotline at 208-381-9500 for assistance. We will be able to complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include arranging specimen collection for testing if necessary.
  • Please visit an emergency department if you need treatment for severe symptoms
    • Note: we are not able to accommodate testing for asymptomatic patients (not exhibiting symptoms) in our emergency departments.
    • If you have mild symptoms, please use the self-triage tool in MyChart to determine next steps or call our COVID hotline at 208-381-9500.
    • Please do not call the emergency department with general COVID-19 questions. Use the hotline listed above (or a local public health hotline listed below) for general COVID-19 questions and concerns.
  • Follow the guidance below to prevent the spread of illness.

Information that appears here is refreshed frequently; revisions are made as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Please be mindful of the date information was produced or updated.

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St. Luke’s McCall COVID-19 Testing Volumes

(Posted August 6)

Since Idaho’s first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on March 13, 2020, St. Luke’s has been learning, evolving and adapting to respond to the disease in the communities we serve.

We want to help support community members and local leaders make informed decisions to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect our family and friends, our economy and our health care resources. Information is key. We are committed to sharing what we see through the data we collect.

We will continue to add information and data to our website, including information for other communities St. Luke’s serves. Please check back often for updates.

St. Luke’s McCall COVID-19 Testing Volumes (pdf)

St. Luke's Health System's plan for resuming services

(Reviewed and updated May 21) 

St. Luke’s is carefully staging a return to providing non-urgent services such as imaging, procedures, elective surgeries and clinic visits over the next few months. St. Luke’s leaders have developed a phased plan to ensure we can meet the care needs of our community while continuing to provide safe care in a safe environment and be prepared to respond should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases.

St. Luke’s plan will be guided by:
  • Available personal protective equipment, supplies and workforce.
  • Continual evaluation and attention to clinical standards regarding testing and evaluation for COVID-19.
  • Ongoing inpatient and surge activity levels within our hospitals.
  • Overall capacity – availability of medical, surgical and ICU beds.
To safely accommodate increased volume caused by previously canceled services, we will:
  • Adjust hours and staffing as needed for surgery, medical imaging, mammography and clinics.
  • Continue to offer alternative visit options such as telehealth or video visits, as appropriate.
Surgical services: Priority will be given to patients whose health is most at risk in the next three to eight weeks. Surgery cases began ramping up in hospital operating rooms on May 20. Next, cases will expand to outpatient surgery centers and are expected to return to normal service levels in early June.

Medical imaging and mammography: Priority will be given to the most urgent needs as determined by the ordering provider. Priority also will be given for patients with procedures that were expected or ordered for March, April or May. New appointments for non-urgent and routine tests can be scheduled starting June 1.

Patients awaiting or needing to schedule non-urgent appointments and procedures should reach out to their provider to schedule an appointment. In some cases, providers will reach out directly to patients to provide details on next steps and to schedule appointments. Patients will be required to wear a mask while visiting St. Luke’s.

Primary care clinics are open

(Reviewed and updated April 23) 

Thank you for your understanding and patience in the disruption of our normal clinic operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including appointment cancellations and/or paused services. Recently, telemedicine options have been added to help patients receive at-home care using the video capabilities of a smartphone, tablet or computer.

If you need primary care services, such as treatment for an illness or a wellness visit, please contact your provider for guidance and to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment. For those of you who experienced appointment cancellations, we can now reschedule those appointments. Many of our clinics also are prepared to manage non-emergent respiratory-related symptoms.

If you are concerned you have COVID-19 and have not yet had a sample collected for testing, please contact the St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500. A member of the clinical staff will complete a risk assessment over the phone and advise on next steps.

Testing Process

(Reviewed and updated as of July 23)

St. Luke’s offers COVID-19 testing to the following high-priority patients, per recommendations from the Idaho State Testing Taskforce:
 
  • Patients with COVID-19 symptoms, as confirmed through myChart self-triage, nurse triage by phone at 208-381-9500, or clinical evaluation.  
  • Asymptomatic patients (not exhibiting symptoms) will be tested under the following circumstances. Patients should ideally be tested between 24-48 hours (and no more than 72 hours) prior to: 
    • A planned surgery or certain procedures that involve increased exposure to a patient’s breath and/or airway (St. Luke’s will coordinate this testing as part of the pre-surgery/pre-procedure process.) 
    • Discharge or transfer from a St. Luke’s hospital to a high risk congregate living facility, such as a long-term care, skilled nursing or psychiatric care facility. 
Due to limited testing capacity and supplies, we are currently unable to accommodate asymptomatic testing under any other circumstances. This includes common requests from asymptomatic patients for pre-employment, return-to-work, or travel purposes. We are working with other community resources to identify alternate pathways for testing.  

COVID-19 tests will be provided to anyone who meets the above criteria. St. Luke's will bill your insurance company; however, you will not have an out-of-pocket or co-payment, regardless of your test result. If you do not have insurance, St. Luke's will not bill you for the test, regardless of the test result, and you will not be required to prove a need for financial assistance.  

For Patients with COVID-19 Symptoms 

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, or may have been exposed, please use our self-triage tool in myChart first; it will help you determine what to do next. If you don’t have a myChart account, you can create one online here

If self-triage indicates that you should be tested, you will be able to schedule an appointment through myChart at one of our designated clinic locations. You may also call our COVID-19 hotline for instructions or assistance at 208-381-9500. Please note: you must have an appointment for testing, we are unable to accept walk-ins. 

The following St. Luke’s care facilities are now offering specimen collection for symptomatic patients by appointment only:

Once an appointment is scheduled, patients will be instructed to drive to the clinic at their designated appointment time. Patients will stay in their cars rather than enter the clinic. Our staff will meet patients in the parking lot to complete screening and specimen collection.

Please visit an emergency department if you need treatment for severe symptoms.

For Asymptomatic Patients (not exhibiting symptoms)

For any patient who is asymptomatic but may have had an exposure and does not meet the testing criteria above, we continue to recommend isolation after potential exposure, social distancing, masking, hand hygiene, and frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces.  

For Employers or Non-St. Luke’s Care Facilities 

For any employers or non-St. Luke’s care facilities in need of group testing, please contact your local public health district office; find the list here.

Other locations:

  • Saint Alphonsus: Screening and specimen collection for testing available at the main hospital with other locations to come soon. Look for more information soon.

  • Saltzer: Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 can get PCR nasal swab tests at the two Saltzer Health urgent care clinics from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

  • Primary Health Medical Group: Patients can be evaluated and have samples collected at respiratory clinics in Garden City, Boise and Nampa. Patients are asked to call ahead to make a same-day appointment and remain in the car upon arrival.

    • Garden City, 5601 W. Chinden Blvd., 208-809-2865

    • Boise, 1475 N. Cole Rd., 208-809-2880

    • Nampa, 700 Caldwell Blvd., 208-466-6567

Universal masking policy

(Reviewed and updated July 10)

Beginning Friday, July 10, St. Luke’s will institute a policy of mandatory universal masking for patients, visitors, vendors and staff in all facilities. A mask will be provided to patients, visitors, and vendors entering a patient care facility and will be required in all patient care environments, as well as all common areas such as hallways, lobbies, waiting rooms, elevators, etc. If someone arrives with their own mask, they may continue to use it. 

We are considering how this practice applies to non-COVID/PUI patients in their rooms, when they aren’t within 6 feet of anyone else. Specific guidelines and recommendations are being determined, but in the meantime, we're adhering to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations that these patients should continue to practice social distancing and masking when 6 feet of distance is not possible. Helpful tips about making, wearing, and cleaning face masks can be found here.  

Updated visitor policy

(Reviewed and updated as of July 14)

All St. Luke’s acute hospitals, clinics, clinical facilities and office buildings have implemented a no-visitor policy. 

Main entrance doors and ED entrances will remain open. Other access points may be locked. All exits will be accessible. We will have staff on-hand at entrances to conduct a brief verbal screening for visitors that meet the limited exceptions listed below. Some sites also have thermal screening for visitors at certain hours.

Policy for children's and obstetrics visitors 

On April 1, St. Luke's implemented the following guidelines: 

  • Obstetric patients in active labor may have one partner OR one support person accompany them. For all other visits, including imaging, the no-visitor policy applies.
    • For surrogacy deliveries, the surrogate is allowed one partner OR support person in delivery to accompany them; the baby will be allowed one birth/intended parent when admitted to the newborn nursery.

  • Minors under the age of 18 may have one visitor: parent, guardian or intended parent.  

Visitation exceptions

  • Patients undergoing BMT/transplant may have one visitor. 
  • Patients requiring ambulation support during an appointment at a clinic, laboratory, or radiology may have one visitor. 
  • Approved deliveries – with all personnel following infection prevention guidelines

Additional clinical considerations

  • Patients who are at the end of life may have two visitors. 
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care, may have one visitor. 
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregivers provide safety) may have one visitor. 
  • Patients with a life-threatening diagnosis may have one person with them for the initial 24 hours; this includes Emergency Department visits.
  • Service animals are permitted.

Symptom screening

No visitor exhibiting or reporting the following symptoms will be permitted, regardless of whether they meet the criteria above.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
Visitors must remain in the patient room during their visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient room, they must leave the facility. 

We will not permit
  • Non-patient children under the age of 14, except under extraordinary circumstances (e.g., end of life). 
  • Posthumous visits
  • Deliveries (flowers, gifts, balloons, etc.). 
  • Vendors, unless they have essential roles (assisting providers, delivering supplies, etc.). 

Thermal temperature scanner process

(Reviewed and updated April 13)

A thermal temperature scanner will now be used at some St. Luke's locations to record the temperature of visitors and staff members as they enter the facility. When you arrive, please move through the entrance at your normal pace and follow the line, single file. Note: There will be two lines, one for staff and one for visitors. Thermal temperature scanners will be launched in Magic Valley soon.

  • Boise Medical Center: The temperature scanner will be in use daily at the main lobby entrance from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Meridian Medical Center: The scanner will be in use at the southeast, non-atrium entrance from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During off hours, visitors will receive regular screening at this entrance and at the Medical Office Building entrance. 
  • Magic Valley Medical Center: A temperature scanner is in use daily for staff and providers. Patients and visitors will continue to receive regular, verbal screening upon entry. This is subject to change. 
  • Nampa Medical Center: A temperature scanner is in use daily for staff and providers. Patients and visitors will continue to receive regular, verbal screening upon entry. This is subject to change. 
  • Wood River Medical Center: The temperature scanner will be in use daily at all hours at the main lobby for visitors, patients, providers and staff.

Outpatient pharmacy prescription drop-off and pick-up

(Reviewed and updated as of April 2)

Boise, Meridian and Nampa hospitals are now offering temporary outpatient pharmacy prescription drop-off and pickup services in the parking lots.

At each of these facilities, our pharmacy team will manage prescription drop-off and pickup from a secure mobile storage unit in the hospital parking lot. On-site signage and St. Luke’s staff will direct you to dedicated pharmacy parking spots and our team will assist you while you remain in your car. Each pharmacy will maintain regular operating hours.

This prescription pickup and drop-off service is available for our patients, community members and employees at the following locations:

St. Luke's Heritage House closure

The St. Luke’s Heritage House has closed to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. We have partnered with the Candlewood Suites hotels and Comfort Inn and Suites to provide alternative accommodations. If you contact them, mention that you were referred by St. Luke’s to receive a discount rate of $65 per night at Candlewood Suites and $85 per night at Comfort Inn. 

Candlewood: 700 N. Cole Rd., Boise, ID, 208-322-4300 and 1855 S. Silverstone, Meridian, ID, 208-888-5121

Comfort Inn: 3625 W Elder St, Boise, ID, 208-342-1075

St. Luke's expert interviews

(Reviewed and updated April 17)

In a series of long-form interviews, St. Luke's experts share advice on managing life during a pandemic. Watch these videos to learn about parenting, mental health, leading and expecting and delivering in a hospital and more.

Learn how to help, support 

In response to the outpouring of offers from community members to donate supplies and/or make monetary donations, we've created a single information webpage for those interested in learning more. Find it here

Infection prevention

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, use the same precautions you would for the flu and common cold. St. Luke’s recommends these infection-prevention practices:

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Call the St. Luke's hotline at 208-381-9500 if you suspect you have the virus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your home, work space, shared items and other frequented locations.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with sick individuals.
  • Based on current evidence, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

National, state and local resources

St. Luke's suggests you continue to check local resources, including Central District Health (cdhd.idaho.gov) and StLukesOnline.org for guidance. 

In addition, Idaho public health districts have enabled Information Call Centers to respond to local public health calls and to answer questions about the virus and the stay-at-home order.

  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare: Operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday; call toll free at 1-888-330-3010.
  • South Central Public Health (Blaine, Camas, Gooding Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties): Operates from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday; call the hotline at 208-737-1138 (English) or 208-737-5965 (Spanish).
  • Central District Health (Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties): Operates weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; call the hotline at 208-321-2222.  
  • Southwest District Health (Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee and Payette counties): Operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call the hotline at 208-455-5411.  
  • North Central Health District (Idaho county): Operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call the hotline at 208-748-0400.  
  • Idaho CareLine: Call the hotline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.

Additional resources


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following St. Luke’s Health System frequently asked questions (FAQs) will be continually updated as we monitor the status of coronavirus (COVID-19) and as we receive questions.

In addition, supplemental FAQs and information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

What are coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses, at times, can evolve and infect people, and then spread through human-to-human contact. They are the cause of up to 25 percent of the upper respiratory infections seen each year. 

How do you get infected with COVID-19? 

Human coronaviruses, including COVID-19, spread just like the flu or a cold — through the air from coughs or sneezes; through close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands; by touching an object or surface with the viruses on it and then touching your face; and occasionally, through fecal contamination. 

How do I know if I have COVID-19? 

The severity can range from mild to severe illness for confirmed novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. It has caused many deaths around the world. The following symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, or may have been exposed, please use our self-triage tool in myChart first; it will help you determine what to do next. If you don’t have a myChart account, you can create one online here

If self-triage indicates that you should be tested, you will be able to schedule an appointment through myChart at one of our designated clinic locations. You may also call our COVID-19 hotline for instructions or assistance at 208-381-9500. Please note: you must have an appointment for testing, we are unable to accept walk-ins. 

Please visit an emergency department if you need treatment for severe symptoms.

What can I do to prevent getting sick from COVID-19? 

Updated and reviewed 4/7/2020

You are at a greater risk of getting seriously ill from the influenza virus than COVID-19. Get a flu shot if you haven’t already. 

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, use the same precautions you would for the flu and common cold. St. Luke’s recommends these infection-prevention practices:

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Call the St. Luke's hotline at 208-381-9500 if you suspect you have the virus and feel you need evaluation for symptoms. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Clean your home, workspace, shared items and other frequented locations. 
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with sick individuals. 
  • Based on new evidence, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others and healthcare personnel caring for symptomatic patients. 

Do we know how long the virus is living on surfaces? 

According to an updated study, this coronavirus (COVID-19) can remain active and viable for up to 2 to 3 days on inanimate surfaces, including stainless steel, plastics, cardboard (up to 24 hours), glass and copper. Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces with most cleaners makes the virus inactivate within one minute.

Should I be wearing a mask? 

Updated and reviewed 7/10/2020

Beginning Friday, July 10, St. Luke’s will institute a policy of mandatory universal masking for patients, visitors, vendors and staff in all facilities. A mask will be provided to patients, visitors, and vendors entering a patient care facility and will be required in all patient care environments, as well as all common areas such as hallways, lobbies, waiting rooms, elevators, etc. If someone arrives with their own mask, they may continue to use it. 

We recommend following current guidance from the CDC. The CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. Recent studies indicate that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Based on this new evidence, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. It is important to note that masks should be used as a secondary defense, after social distancing and proper hand washing.

Helpful tips about making, wearing, and clearing face masks can be found here

I haven't been wearing a mask other places, like restaurants and stores, why do I have to wear one here? 

We realize there are varying practices, but the health care setting is unique. We have a responsibility to provide the safest possible environment to all our patients, visitors and staff. COVID-19 is highly contagious. It spreads quickly and can be dangerous. To protect you, other patients, visitors and staff, masks are required at all St. Luke’s facilities.

Will I have to pay to be tested for coronavirus? 

COVID-19 tests will be provided to anyone who is screened and meets criteria based on their symptoms and/or exposure. Our team is available to screen you to determine if testing is needed. St. Luke's will bill your insurance company, however, you will not have an out of pocket or co-payment, regardless of your test result. If you do not have insurance, St. Luke's will not bill you for the test, regardless of the test result, and you will not be required to prove a need for assistance. 

How long will it take to get my test results? 

The time to receive results fluctuates based on demand and surge activity. A positive test will result in a phone call and all results will be added to myChart. 

Should I go to the Emergency Department? 

If you develop symptoms of respiratory illness and are concerned you may have risk factors for COVID-19, please call St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500. Clinic staff will be able to complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include arranging testing if needed. 

Please visit an emergency department if you need treatment for severe symptoms.

Providers should coordinate with their local Emergency Department or hospital if a patient has severe symptoms. 

What should I do if I have recently traveled and am sick?  

If you have traveled within the past 14 days and have COVID-19 symptoms, you should call your primary care provider to complete a risk assessment over the phone. They will be able to provide guidance on next steps, if needed. While sick, avoid contact with people, stay home and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.   

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?   

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and the estimate is that it will be 9 to 12 months before there might be one. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.   

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?  

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Investigational trials are currently underway, and this could change in the future. 

Can people who recover from COVID-19 be infected again? 

The immune response to COVID-19 is not yet understood. Patients with COVID-19 are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known if patients with COVID-19 become immune once they've contracted the virus. 

What should we do if we have a family member who is immuno-compromised? 

The advice is similar to our general recommendations including the practice of good hand hygiene, frequent cleaning of high-touch items and avoiding close contact with others if they notice COVID-19 symptoms. Also, consider limiting exposures of yourself and these family members to large gatherings and public events. 

I was scheduled for a class through St. Luke’s, will it still take place or has it been cancelled?

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health concerns, some St. Luke's classes such as St. Luke’s birth, parenting, safety, car seat check, scheduled maternity tours, Moms Meet Up and Breastfeeding Bunch support groups have been moved to online formats or cancelled. Some previously cancelled classes have resumed with new guidelines. Check the local group page for updates. 

If you have questions, please reach out to our offices:

  • Treasure Valley: 208-381-1510 
  • Magic Valley: 208-814-0407
  • Wood River: 208-727-8253
  • McCall: 208-634-1400

Will construction continue at the Boise hospital and other St. Luke's locations?

‘Commercial construction’ is considered an essential service in Gov. Little’s ‘Statewide Stay-Home’ order. Construction on the St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center and that planned at other St. Luke’s locations will continue if appropriate with additional precautions in place.