Exactly one month ago today, Kearney Regional Medical Center officially opened its “Hospital Incident Command System” (HICS) in response to a growing global rise of the COVID-19 virus.
Ever since, the team has been preparing for the local impact of COVID-19 and planning for a community-wide surge of patients.
An estimated 30-80 percent of the population will contract the virus that causes COVID-19. Of those infected, an estimated 5 percent will need hospitalization and 2 percent will need a ventilator according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
To prepare for the possible patient surge, 18 more ventilators have been ordered, along with thousands of surgical masks, N95 respirators, and other PPE (personal protective equipment). The HICS team is working closely with local, state and federal authorities to help provide additional materials, as well as plan for an alternate care site at the University of Nebraska-Kearney when needed.
In response to the most recent Directive Health Measure (DHM), Kearney Regional Medical Center has implemented a review and approval process for all surgeries. “Decisions regarding a patient’s medical plan of care should be made by the patient and the physician. Consistent with the DHM, surgeries or procedures are allowed on a case-by-case basis and necessity is determined by the medical provider,” said CEO Bill Calhoun.
With the lower volume of surgeries taking place, staff previously working in procedural services and other areas are being cross-trained to cover different areas of the facility such as the ICU and ER. Different wings of the hospital have also been designated for symptomatic and non-symptomatic patients to minimize chances of exposure.
Chief Nursing Officer Adrienne Olson says there is a plan to place up to 40 additional beds in the current procedural services areas for patient care related to COVID-19.
“Our staff are prepared and ready to care for our community during this time of need,” said Olson.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit kearneyregional.com/COVID19.