PMC Establishing Responses for a Potential Fall Virus Surge

Entrance to Emergency Room

 

Prowers Medical Center continues to deal with COVID-19 on several fronts according to Karen Bryan, Chief Executive Officer. She briefed the Prowers County Commissioners on June 23rd to address some areas as pandemic protocols remain status quo, and discussions are underway to relax some older restrictions at the hospital while still maintaining safety for staff and patients.

“We receive regular inquiries as to when we can allow visitors to accompany a patient in our operating room,” she explained, adding that one visitor may accompany a patient, but it’s recommended they stay either with the patient or in the waiting room area. “We’re trying to minimize any exposure to the virus throughout the entire hospital which is why we still maintain the safeguards of clean surfaces, masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing.” Bryant said there is pending legislation which deals with future recommendations and changes for hospital visitation. She added that there has been an increase of the virus in staff percentages at the hospital in Alamosa.

Prowers Medical Center is also keeping on eye on neighboring states, particularly Arizona right now, in light of that state’s coronavirus statistics that are on the upswing. Hospitals are anticipating a fall surge in COVID cases and have plans to deal with accelerating numbers especially with the advent of the flu season returning this fall. “Usually 50% of the population will not get an immunization shot and there is no COVID vaccine available right now,” she told the commissioners. Bryant added there’s a concern that because of the pandemic, regular childhood inoculations have fallen behind normal measures and providers are wary of a resurgence of some diseases such as measles.

Five health departments at PMC are beginning to reopen including cardio-pulmonary, operating room, imaging, rehabilitation and the specialty clinic. “We’ve opened the operating room to two cases per day to see how much time is taken to sterilize the area to allow for a second patient. We want to measure how we can allow sufficient time between two procedures to meet all requirements. The staff will increase the caseload as they feel comfortable. We have a current focus on general surgery, but orthopedics can do clinic visits so the provider can begin to prioritize those patients that may need to go first,” she said, adding that the orthopedic clinic is opened for on-site visits now, but no cases are set for July at this time.

Prowers Medical Center will begin to address the need for area residents to focus on making sure they are cleaning any surfaces in their daily life that have a high touch-contact point including hand washing, sanitizer and social distancing and masks as basic safe-guards.   She noted that the pandemic has caused regular visits to the hospital to fall off, a concern to the medical staff that a person in need of medical treatment may become reluctant to visit the hospital for concern of contact with the COVID virus. The local media will be used to stress that the hospital and clinic is still a safe place to receive medical care. There are concerns with patients waiting too long to receive basic care or more intensive treatment caused by delays. Statistics do show only a few COVID cases that are a result of being contracted through a health care setting.

Bryant said the hospital is stressing its recruitment efforts, using locum tenens, or temporary physicians, who will work at PMC on a revolving schedule. The CEO said the hospital is exercising caution as some providers are being let go from larger cities and are seeking a temporary situation. Others may want a slower pace to their profession as opposed to a large hospital in a metro area. “We use a comprehensive interview process with a new prospect to determine if a candidate can meet our needs,” she said.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEnvironmentFeaturedHealthHot TopicsPublic Safety

Tags:

About the Author: