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MONTEZUMA — For southwest Kansas rural medical clinics and hospitals, the COVID-19 resources are taking a hit as it was announced the Montezuma Medical Clinic would be temporarily closing.

According to Centura Health, physician Andrew Schowengerdt will continue seeing his patients at Dodge City Medical Center, 2020 Central Avenue.

Centura Health said for patients who are critical ill, contact 911 or the closest emergency center.

Screening for COVID-19 will remain; however, testing for the virus will not be manageable.

Screening for COVID-19 will be through questions such as:

• What is your recent travel history?

• Have you been in close contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

• What are your symptoms?

Dodge City Medical Center asks that the clinic be called prior to a visit at 620-227-1371 for a COVID-19 screening.

The staff will then provide instructions on how to proceed.

Appointments can be made by calling 620-227-1371.

In rural areas, as state and federal governments gather resources for residents, there are still more concerns.

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., has spoken on the needs of rural hospitals.

“As a physician, and congressman, the health of Kansans is always my top priority," Marshall said. "During this outbreak, I have been in constant contact with Kansas health care professionals and understand the strain being placed on facilities and the need to use personnel and resources most efficiently. This week I introduced legislation which would enable critical access hospitals and other rural health care providers to pay their employees and buy necessary supplies to treat patients.

"Local facilities should use discretion to decide how best to maintain long-term operations, while state and federal legislatures work to provide resources for health care facilities providing care in rural communities.”

Pratt Regional Medical Center also announced changes to its elective surgeries and procedures to reduce risk of COVID-19.

According to PRMC, it will be rescheduling elective surgeries and procedures after March 27.

Despite the changes, emergency surgeries will not apply to this change.

The new guidelines will not apply to emergency surgeries performed at PRMC.

"With appropriate screening of patients and when deemed clinically necessary, some planned cases will continue to be performed," PRMC said in a news release. "If they are considered non-essential, the elective cases will be postponed and rescheduled to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to patients and staff and to preserve our limited supply of personal protective equipment."

For anyone with a scheduled surgery, PRMC will be making contact through the surgeon's office.

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