COVID-19 Media Messages April 7

Incident Command

Community Hospital meets as an incident command planning team twice a week with multiple sub teams also meeting numerous times throughout the week.

Non-Medical Reusable Masks

NEW CDC recently issued new guidance on using cloth face coverings/masks in community settings to prevent COVID-19 transmission, citing recent studies showing some people may spread the virus before or without showing symptoms. The agency emphasized the recommended coverings "are not surgical masks or N95 respirators,” but instead are homemade cloth, non-medical masks. The medical masks are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Starting next week, Community Hospital non-clinical employees will be required to wear cloth masks while working at the hospital. The hospital is seeking people to sew masks using a specific pattern found on the CDC website at The pattern is also available on Facebook by searching “Community Hospital – McCook.” These masks will be used for non-clinical hospital staff, for outpatients who come to the hospital for appointments, and also for area community partners who are short on mask supplies, such as clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and home health departments. People making masks are asked to follow the flat rectangle mask pattern mentioned in the link above. Community Hospital is a latex-free facility. Please donate masks that use latex alternatives or ties. Call Tricia Wagner at 308-344-8550 or Candy Crosby at 308-344-8340 for questions. Masks can be dropped off at Community Hospital by simply parking in the front parking lot and calling 308-344-2650. Someone will come out and pick them up.

Patients Accounts

NEW Community Hospital’s Patients Accounts department is now working at home. For the health and safety of patients and staff, the office at 711 East 11th Street is locked until further notice. Patients can call 308-344-8297 for assistance. Payments may be left in the payment drop box at the office entrance. Patients can also pay bills online at

UV Autoclave Units

NEW Two UV autoclave units arrived at Community Hospital on Tuesday. The table top units use UV rays to sanitize N95 face masks so they can be used more than once – thus saving supplies that are difficult to purchase at this time. The use of UV sterilization, or ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, has been found to be extremely effective, according to Sharon Conroy, RN, Community Hospital Infection Control nurse.


NEW Community Hospital’s maintenance staff has been working diligently to convert and modify regular patient rooms to negative isolation rooms. The hospital patient wing was built with two negative isolation rooms, but in the event more would be needed in a patient surge, the HVAC systems have been converted in each room. In typical patient rooms air flow is recirculated. Negative isolation rooms require the air to be vented out and must meet certain levels according to CDC guidelines.

Community Hospital Building Project

NEW Community Hospital administration, along with Blake Bethell, Facility Project Manager, have made the decision to suspend the current construction project due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have a lot of contractors onsite who are coming from out of town and out of state,” Bethell said. “In addition, there are some who are not able to travel impacting significantly our ability to fully complete this phase of project as planned. We feel that it is best to suspend all construction at this time to provide the best level of protection for our facility and our community. However, this will take some time to shut down as we need to make sure the building is secure and weather tight. Over the next week or two, things will be ramping down with a planned complete shutdown in mid-April,” he said.

Important Public Messages

  • Call before coming to any medical facility to seek treatment if you are exhibiting these symptoms: A fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, shortness of breath, or a cough.
  • Go to the CDC website for accurate information:
  • If you are sick – stay home!

If you have questions about COVID-19 and your health, call Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department at 308-345-4223, DHHS COVID-19 Information Line 402-552-6645, or go to