NorthStar Regional’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

two women discussing over table with open books


NorthStar Regional’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated Monday, December 7

Protocol for Immediate Point-of-Care COVID Testing

Note: Rapid COVID Testing will be used on clients (both admitting and symptomatic clients). Testing will be performed by Nursing Staff.

When a client arrives for admission:
1. The client will call the facility while staying in his/her own vehicle
2. Nursing staff will come to vehicle and collect the sample
3. Client will wait in car for 8-10 minutes while the results are processed
4. In the event of a negative result: Client will be admitted to the facility
5. In the event of a positive result: Client will need to contact the Admissions Department to reschedule once they obtain a negative COVID test and provide the facility with documentation of the result.

When an admitted client is symptomatic:
1. Nursing will collect the sample
2. In the event of a negative resultClient will continue to be monitored as needed

3. In the event of a positive result

A. Notify necessary team members.
B. Complete the Contact Tracing Form.
C. Send client to the identified COVID house.
D. Client can be readmitted to residential treatment or sober housing once a they obtain a negative COVID test (non-rapid test) and provide the facility with documentation of the result.

Updated Tuesday, July 14

NorthStar Regional is open and accepting new clients. Individual therapy is now available in person at our offices.

At NorthStar Regional, we care deeply about our clients and our staff, and are continuing to take steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 within our facilities. Our residential, outpatient and mental health services remain open. We have implemented social distancing and the use of masks at all of our facilities. Most outpatient services are being conducted through telehealth, although in-person counseling sessions incorporating our COVID-19 protocols are now available.

Check this page for the most recent information about our services and our response to the coronavirus outbreak. The mental health and recovery of our clients has never been more important. We are dedicated to helping our clients stay physically safe and emotionally well. Free downloadable mental health resource materials to provide help in facing the emotional challenges of COVID-19 are available on the Journey to Recovery page (under the Resources tab).

NorthStar Regional COVID-19 FAQ

Q: Are telehealth services available for mental health counseling?
A: Yes! Telehealth services are being used for individual mental health and the Bridges IOP group counseling sessions. Call the office where you receive services for more information and to schedule an appointment. Directions to use telehealth systems to see your therapist can be emailed to you and are available on our website under the Resources tab.

Q: Are new individual therapy appointments available?
A: Yes, we have therapists available who are conducting both telehealth and in-person appointments. New clients are being accepted. Call 952-974-3999 to get started.

Q: Can I see a therapist in person?
A: Some of our therapists are conducting counseling sessions in-person while following our COVID-19 protocols. These include a screening upon arrival at our offices, appropriate social distancing, and the wearing of masks by both the therapist and client.

Q: Is the Men’s Residential Treatment Center in Shakopee taking new clients?

A: Yes. Call 952-297-8665 to make a referral. We are doing everything we can to provide a positive atmosphere and to meet the health challenges of our clients during this time. Some meetings and client services are being conducted via telehealth.

Q: Is the Women’s Residential Treatment Center taking new clients?
A: Yes. Call 952-297-8665 to make a referral. We are doing everything we can to provide a positive atmosphere and to meet the health challenges of our clients during this time. Some meetings and client services are being conducted via telehealth.

Q: Are in-person group treatment programs open?
A: Our co-occurring intensive outpatient programs at Sugar Creek in Chaska, 7945 Stone Creek Dr Suite 30 in Chanhassen, and Maple Grove are open, as is our Bridges mental health group program at 7945 Stone Creek Dr, Suite 10 in Chanhassen. These group meetings are being conducted via telehealth. Attendance is still expected as part of your treatment program. Watch our website for updates. Current patients are being notified of these changes. If you are unsure how this affects you, or your programming, call 952-897-6557.

Q: Do I have to attend my group sessions?
A: Yes. We are asking treatment clients at our residential treatment centers to continue their group sessions through telehealth.

The situation in our local community continues to evolve. We remain committed to supplying services and making the best of this very difficult time. Please watch our website for changes. Thank you for your patience.

NorthStar Regional is committed to continuing service to our patients, protecting our staff, and containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic within our organization. Above all, we are stressing education and the importance of each staff member giving their best to ensure a healthy environment. Our focus will be on health and prevention while providing continued treatment services as usual. We are health-motivated, not fear-driven. We have implemented enhanced cleaning routines along with personal hygiene procedures designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Communication about and our response to this pandemic is overseen by our Medical Director, Dr. Thomas Winegarden, and our nursing staff.

NorthStar Regional clients who see a mental health therapist may have the the option to receive counseling via telehealth. Please contact your therapist or call the front desk at your therapist’s location.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms, how to stay healthy, and lessen the risk to yourself and your family, please visit the CDC website. NorthStar Regional will follow the recommendations of the CDC or other appropriate local governing authorities for any policy changes, including any travel restrictions or closures.

Our Response at NorthStar Regional

We have implemented a COVID-19 pandemic response plan including:

  • Checking all residential patients for fever—the most common symptom of COVID-19
  • Screening staff and visitors for symptoms or exposure to someone with a known case of COVID-19
  • Ensuring the highest level of infection prevention and control, sanitation and hygiene
  • Responding quickly to any emerging situation
  • Educating staff and clients about cleaning procedures

Simple Precautions You Can Take

  • Remain at home if you have signs of illness.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are ill.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer. Read the following article from the Guardian for more information: “The science of soap – here’s how it kills the coronavirus.”
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if unable to wash hands.
  • Clean office and bathroom surfaces and any objects that are frequently touched
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

Evaluating Risk

The CDC continues to convey that for most people, the immediate risk from the virus that causes COVID-19 is considered to be low. However, advises that those in the following categories have an elevated risk:

  • People living in places where ongoing community spread of the virus has been reported.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19.
  • Travelers returning from affected locations where community spread is occurring are also at elevated risk of exposure.

Additionally, the CDC has advised that older adults are at elevated risk from COVID-19 and should take preventative steps to avoid crowds and stay home as much as possible.

Close contact for healthcare exposures is defined as follows:

  1. Being within approximately 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (such as caring for or visiting the patient; or sitting within 6 feet of the patient in a healthcare waiting area or room).
  2. Having unprotected direct contact with infectious secretions or excretions of the patient (e.g., being coughed on, touching used tissues with a bare hand).

Definitions of close contact

  • Factors for consideration include the duration of exposure (e.g., longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk).
  • Certain clinical symptoms of the patient (e.g., coughing likely increases exposure risk).

Having the patient wear a facemask can efficiently block respiratory secretions from contaminating others and the environment.

Brief Interactions

Brief interactions are less likely to result in transmission; however, clinical symptoms of the patient and type of interaction (e.g., did the patient cough directly into the face of a person) remain important.

Examples of brief interactions include:

  • Briefly entering the patient room without having direct contact with the patient or their secretions/excretions.
  • Having a brief conversation at a triage desk with a patient who was not wearing a face mask.

We are committed to supplying health and safety for the entire NorthStar Regional family. We will continue to monitor information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local public health authorities. Updates about our response to COVID-19 will be provided on our website.


Moving Forward in Hope

We remain committed to serving new patients in need of help. We will continue to monitor and respond to this pandemic as it evolves, taking necessary precautions to protect our patients, staff, families and friends.