By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Immediate Care Center (ICC) in Cherokee will close until further notice on Friday, May 15. The Center is operated by the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority (CIHA).
“Due to a decrease in patients seeking services from ICC, we made the decision to consolidate the staff at ICC to help with our COVID-19 response teams,” said Dr. Richard Bunio, Cherokee Indian Hospital executive medical director.
He noted it will have a small impact on the hospital’s main campus but one they are prepared for. “We expect a small increase in the number of visits, but due to the overall drop in face-to-face visits (we have implemented more telehealth visits), the hospital campus should be able to absorb this fairly easily with all the screening and protections in place.”
When asked what conditions would have to occur regarding the pandemic before the ICC is re-opened, Dr. Bunio said, “If the disease activity remains low and we see an increase in face-to-face visits at the hospital and ER, then we would definitely consider re-opening the ICC as that would indicate that people are more comfortable coming to the facility in person.”
With the temporary closure of the ICC, patients needing same-day service should contact their primary care provider or utilize the emergency room. “We do not anticipate this will impact wait times significantly as we have the capacity to absorb these services.”
To reach the Cherokee Indian Hospital, call 497-9163. For COVID-19 testing, call 497-3743.