BUCKHANNON, WV – St. Joseph’s Hospital has been working diligently over the past several weeks to prepare its response plan for the COVID-19 emergency.
“We have activated our Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), which is designed for hospitals in the United States to have the tools needed for emergency preparedness and response,” said Skip Gjolberg, president St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Our team meets twice daily to ensure that our hospital and staff are fully prepared and have the resources they need. In addition, there is a WVU Medicine System call each day to coordinate across all our hospitals. Our first priority is providing excellent care and safety for our patients and staff.”
Steps that the hospital has taken include the activation of a nurse triage line for the public, set-up of a triage tent outside the hospital’s emergency room to screen patients appropriately, and restriction of visitors to the hospital to further protect patients, staff and the community.
Physican offices are offering telehealth, giving patients an opportunity to connect with their physicians via telephone or video. The hospital has increased its inpatient bed capacity, expanded the number of ventilators available, is ensuring that staff have access to needed personal protective equipment, and has plans in place for a secured area should any patients be admitted with COVID-19.
“We want to thank the community and our local businesses for their many donations of equipment, supplies, and food for our staff,” said Gjolberg. “We do thank the community for their willingness to provide homemade masks, however at this point we have an adequate supply of medical grade masks. We will continue to accept donations of new and unused N95 respiratory face masks, isolation gowns and nitrile exam gloves.”
“Most importantly, we want to reassure our community that St. Joseph’s Hospital is doing everything possible to ensure that our community has access to the best in care. The biggest thing you can do to help us is not get sick. Stay away from groups of any size, when you must go out for food or necessities, wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and exercise social distancing. We urge you to follow the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our government.”
For more information go to www.stj.net or call St. Joseph’s Hospital nurse triage line at 304-473-2161, open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, Monday through Friday for questions. Outside of those hours, call St. Joseph’s Hospital at 304-473-2000 or the State hotline at 800-887-4304.