Hospital Preparing for Coronavirus

March 2, 2020

Community Hospital is working on preparations due to the threat of a COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) patient surge in the United States. The hospital has activated the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), a typical response necessary to prepare for situations such as this, which require planning, response and communication. Multiple areas are being worked on at this time, according to Sean Wolfe, Chief Financial Officer, and a member of Community Hospital’s Administrative Council.

Hospital leadership believes in preparation, education and communication. “Community Hospital is well prepared to handle a situation such as this,” Wolfe said, “because we plan for and practice these types of scenarios regularly.”

On Friday, hospital leaders learned of safeguards being put into place by medical supply manufacturers to normalize and combat the inflated global demand. Leaders also learned where Community Hospital currently stands with its array of medical supplies. Community Hospital is not anticipating any supply shortages at this time, even with the situation changing daily. Clinical leaders and the Materials Management department have been meeting to discuss supply levels, potential changes in workflows to reduce supply waste, and needed supplies specific to COVID-19 since news of the outbreak first began.

Other areas under consideration include facility and infrastructure needs, additional equipment needs, nursing/staff training and readiness efforts, staffing and overtime, and testing for the virus.

Sharon Conroy, RN, Infection Preventionist was in FEMA training last week in Aniston, Alabama and has brought home the most up-to-date knowledge FEMA has to share. This knowledge will be invaluable in all the various efforts Community Hospital is currently undertaking.   

Administration as a group will be leading collaboration efforts to work with providers in the community, the health department and others. These organizations need to have a shared mental model of how the community would respond to a widespread COVID-19 outbreak.

Community Hospital will continue to keep staff and the public aware of planning activities, Wolfe said through news releases and Facebook posts. “We plan to keep our staff and the community fully knowledgeable of the current readiness and status of the hospital. Many more communications would also be needed in the event of large scale COVID-19 outbreak in the community,” he added.

The public can take action, as well, by ensuring they are using reliable, trusted sources for information regarding the virus, such as the CDC; sharing those factual resources, and flagging misinformation when they see it.