Article repurposed from Parkersburg News & Sentinel with permission
PARKERSBURG — WVU Medicine Camden Clark is working to put space between patients who might be infected with the novel coronavirus and others receiving care.
The hospital opened a dedicated COVID-19 care unit in preparation for a possible increase in cases. The president of the West Virginia Hospital Association said in an interview this week that such a surge could hit the Mountain State in the next two or three weeks.
The 29-bed unit, located in the hospital’s South Tower, has equipment necessary to care for all levels of COVID-19 infection, hospital officials said. It’s also intended to provide isolation of and limited exposure to those cases.
“If a surge of patients require admission to this unit and these beds are full, we will begin to convert other rooms to support these patients,” hospital officials said in a release. “It is also important to understand that CCMC is part of a larger system. We are collectively monitoring bed capacity and will have the ability to source availability at other locations within our system if necessary as well.”
The drive-thru testing tent is moving to the former Rosemar Medical Complex near Emerson Avenue and Rosemar Road, where a dedicated respiratory clinic is opening. That too is designed to minimize exposure of people with any respiratory illness to others, the release says.
Both operations will open to patients at 8 a.m. Monday, said Sean Smith, vice president of physician enterprise and clinical integration.
“Our goal is to provide one location for area residents that will specifically treat those patients with respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever and general flu-like symptoms and be able to provide the COVID-19 drive-thru testing,” Smith said.
The hospital recently established an Emergency Department triage trailer in anticipation of increased numbers of patients with coronavirus symptoms who have not yet seen their primary care physician to be screened for testing. This will also minimize their exposure to other patients and staff, the release says.
Other steps recently taken by the hospital include:
* Minimizing visitation to “near zero” and implementing a patients-only policy in ambulatory clinics.
* Deferring all elective, non-emergent surgeries and GI procedures, a step taken in mid-March.
* Minimizing entrances to the hospital and establishing screening procedures for patients and employees.
* Distributing personal protective equipment to patient care staff at the hospital and ambulatory clinics, along with guidelines and access to masks for employees who want to wear them. Masks are also being made available to patients who want them.
* Implementing a “caring for the caregiver” toolkit to assist employees, including an employee health hotline, employee aid fund, stress-relieving tips for work and home and a designated relaxation room at the hospital with television, a shower, snacks and drinks.