A tent that was placed in front of the Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) Emergency Room entrance as part of preparation for a potential surge in patients has since been taken down, although the community is still being asked to remain vigilant.
As previously reported, according to Whitney Gentry, leader of business development for FCMH, “the tent (was) planned to be used as additional space for testing and triage of patients.”
The tent was initially removed during recent high wind forecasts but will not be going back up. This is due to new COVID-19 projections for the local area from the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio State University.
“Right now it is much lower and is a number we feel we can comfortably manage within our facility,” explained Gentry by email. “The Incident Command team made a decision to remove the tent. We still have the additional orders of oxygen and linens and have the extra cots from (Fayette County Emergency Management Agency) on-site for easy access.”
When asked if the hospital is still prepared for a surge of COVID-19 cases or expects a surge to occur, Gentry explained, “Every aspect of the surge plan is still in place with the exception of the tent, which can easily be remedied. We still have daily communications internally, with the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency, Fayette County Public Health and the hospitals in our regional surge plan.”
For the time-being, in relation to regular medical appointments and procedures, FCMH is following the orders put forth by the Ohio Department of Health and Governor Mike DeWine for elective and non-essential procedures.
“As soon as we are given permission, we will resume procedures. Of particular focus for us now is looking at any additional steps we can take to further ensure patient and staff safety. That will likely include continued health screenings at the main entrances, limiting visitors, separating those potential COVID-19 patients from other patients and the continued proper use of PPEs and safety procedures. Once we are able to resume normal activities, it will be done with a heightened sense of awareness. We will continue to ask suspected COVID-19 patients to call first if possible and use either the Emergency Department or the Same Day Care Covid Clinic in Medical Arts Building 2. We do want to ensure the community we will continue to take any and all necessary steps to ensure patient and staff safety,” wrote Gentry.
The COVID-19 clinic is a separate room located near the entrance of Medical Arts Building 2 and is used to screen patients who have symptoms matching those of the virus.
“When a patient coming to the Same Day Care Clinic is seen in the COVID clinic, it just means they could have the virus,” wrote Gentry. “It’s a safety measure FCMH has established to reduce the spread of germs, specifically the Coronavirus. Since it was opened on March 16, the clinic has seen 299 patients.”
FCMH CEO Mike Diener added his sincere appreciation and gratitude to the staff for their dedication and professionalism shown during the pandemic.
“I am extremely proud of all our staff members in the midst of this crisis. Fayette County is lucky to have such dedicated and talented healthcare workers,” explained Diener.
“We have not let down our guard, and we are asking that the public do the same – please remain vigilant about practicing social distancing and proper hygiene and all the other recommendations from our county public health district and the Center for Disease Control (CDC),” wrote Gentry. “As has been mentioned in the media, a second surge could result if the population doesn’t stay focused on preventing the spread of germs. That is something we are definitely monitoring.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.