ST. CLOUD -- As we continue our social distancing practices, local doctors are staying connected with patients through virtual visits.

Dr. Libby Brever is a Family Medicine Physician with CentraCare in Albany. She says CentraCare has been using video visits prior to COVID-19, but over the last month they've seen a major spike in usage.

Prior to the middle of March in the primary care setting, it was 0% if you didn't count in those eVisits. Now I would guess 50%-70% of what we are doing day to day are video or telephone visits.

She says there is a lot of information they can get via video, but if they feel the need to see you in person they will schedule an appointment.

Brever says many patients are also opting to sign up for MyChart to stay connected with doctors.

CentraCare as an organization had about 200,000 patients that had signed up for MyChart as of the middle of March. Now in a month's time, we've had almost 5,000 new sign-ups and a majority of that is for the video visit access.

MyChart provides a handful of tools such as video chat, scheduling appointments, asking questions or refilling prescriptions.

If you currently have an appointment scheduled within the CentraCare organization, Brever recommends you wait to hear from them before rescheduling as things are constantly changing with how they continue to provide care during this pandemic.

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