The President of the Allina Health Faribault Hospital David Albrecht stopped by KDHL today for the AM Minnesota program. Albrecht would like to drop District One from the name. He wanted to get the word out that people need to stop by if they need medical attention.

Albrecht says there has been a hesitation by people to come to the hospital and wants to let people know they have taken a number of measures to make it safe during the current pandemic. "We've had COVID positive patients.  There's two types of patients that we identify."

"One we call PUI's or Patients Under Investigation awaiting tests or those that are confirmed COVID positive," he added.

"In the hospital we've been able to segregate those patients from other patients.  Some of the conditions for treating COVID positive patients is to have negative pressure rooms.  What that means is that from that room air is sucked to the outside as opposed to recirculated inside.  So we've created additional negative pressure space and we've been able to isolate PUI and COVID patients.  That's one of the safety features that exist."

Albrecht pointed out. "I think in our ED (Emergency Department) too, the way it's laid out with two big rings around the interior core we were able to put COVID positive patients and PUI patient in one area and the other patients in another area."

The Faribault Hospital Allina Health President says, "If you come to the hospital today your going to have a major health screed in order to even get in.  You have to wear a mask.  They'll take your temperature.  They'll ask a whole array of questions.  That's if your patient, a visitor, a vendor, even I as an employee have to have my temperature screened every morning."

I asked Albrecht if there would be some permanent changes following COVID and he was very blunt in saying, "The real culmination of this isn't going to happen until we find a vaccine quite frankly.  Or they keep talking about herd immunity but I don't know that herd immunity will totally take it away.  Because again there still could be, particularly in vulnerable populations people who would not have the immunity and we still would have to do that."

Under items of routine business on the Faribault City Council agenda this week was an item calling for the dissolution of the hospital district. Albrecht explained after Allina took over the hospital a board was kept in place to make sure Allina did what they promised.  Allina did spend approximately 28 million dollars upgrading the facility.

After the takeover the taxing authority was gone that was granted by the Minnesota State Legislature for the local hospital district.  The plan called for the Allina to conclude their improvements over a 5 year time frame.  That 5 years is up and the hospital oversight board did confirm everything was satisfactory.

Approval is needed by the governmental entities in the former hospital district including Faribault, Morristown and some area townships.

On that note Albrecht would like to see the District One name dropped from the hospital.  "Because it's a remnant of the past and we're not organized as a district.  I have been advocating at least internally that we just call it Allina Health Faribault Hospital. That really describes what it is.  It's a Allina Health facility with all the technology, the equipment, the capabilities of any Allina hospital you'd find up in the cities or any of the outlying communities."

Albrecht echoed what the Minnesota Department of Health has been saying during their daily COVID updates recently.  When COVID took hold people with other health conditions stayed away.  By design at first to hold the beds and PPE for COVID patients.

Albrecht says, "People with congestive heart failure or diabetes or any kind of other ailment" need to come in.  "Our emergency volumes are still down.  Which is a concern.  It's a health concern because people are fearful of coming because of the virus.  I think we're probably safer than going to the store right now.  I know we are."

Faribault and Owatonna Allina Hospital President David Albrecht.