The medical experts from the North Coast Healthcare Collaborative, which includes Magruder Hospital, Fisher-Titus, Bellevue Hospital and Firelands Regional Medical Center, have teamed up to provide an overall picture of what is being done in the region as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Are there any plans to use tents to treat patients? Was a tent from Monroeville requested?
A: As we continue to finalize surge plans based on data provided by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association over the weekend, it may be necessary to use tents in a number of different ways including screenings and assessments of patients.
Magruder Hospital will be setting up a tent near its Urgent Care facility for triage purposes. Magruder has also set up a separate Respiratory Care Unit, in a building next to the hospital’s ER with a staffed triage Hot Line accessible by the public. Currently, any patients suspected of COVID-19 are being treated in this area.
There are currently tents erected on the Fisher-Titus, Firelands Regional Medical Center, and Bellevue Hospital campuses and the public should not be concerned if they see additional tents put up. This is all to have a position of preparedness.
Bellevue Hospital has also installed a trailer on its campus to help with patient flow if needed.
Q: Are there any other facilities or areas of the hospital, besides the rooms in the emergency department, that will be used to treat the patients with COVID-19 symptoms?
A: At this time all four hospitals have already initiated separate clinical areas to assess, treat, and group patients that do and do not have symptoms. Magruder Hospital has established an alternative care site within the hospital facility to increase its bed capacity.
Firelands has worked with the Erie County Health Department to identify community-based facilities to house both symptomatic and non-symptomatic patients who cannot return to their previous living environment.
Q: What PPE items have been requested from the state emergency management agency? From masks, to gowns, ventilators and medications.
A: Magruder Hospital has received six ventilators. Fisher-Titus has requested materials, including all types of PPE, and have received eight ventilators from the state while Firelands has received 11 ventilators and Bellevue Hospital has received three.
Bellevue Hospital, Magruder Hospital, and Firelands Regional Medical Center (also known as the North Coast Healthcare Collaborative) are working together on joint purchasing of PPE as well. The North Coast Healthcare Collaborative is also collaborating with the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio as it relates to emergency preparedness and response. Along with all hospitals in Ohio, the North Coast Healthcare Collaborative is reporting into a central database daily of PPE and individual capacity to handle patients.
Q: What responses have our emergency operations centers received from the government, state and local? What about the response from local businesses to people?
A: All four hospitals in the North Coast Healthcare Collaborative have frequent communications with local health departments, county commissioners, and state level government, including specific telephone conferences between the governor and hospital leaders.
Organizations like the American Hospital Association have scheduled several calls with federal level officials to provide updates on testing capabilities, changes in labor laws, and provide situational updates related to various waivers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The response from the area communities, including local businesses, has truly been overwhelming. Our hospitals cannot thank them enough for thinking of our healthcare workers during this time.
Q: Do you have an estimated amount of ventilators needed? How many ventilators are on reserve or have been received from the state?
A: Recently, we received projection models related to hospital census as referenced above from Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Hospital Association to refine the model of care if needed. Our total need for ventilators will depend on the individual spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and how well our community members embrace the importance of social distancing that Gov. DeWine and his team have recommended.
Q: What testing is available today? What type of testing do you hope to have in the upcoming weeks?
A: Currently, testing is available at the Ohio Department of Health lab, commercial labs like LabCorp and Quest, and larger academic medical centers. We are currently utilizing these tests for hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, and our symptomatic high-risk population.
We aren’t doing testing in any of our labs locally, but we continue to review the capability.
Q: Anything I did not ask that I should know?
A: All four hospitals have been in a state of readiness even before the pandemic started, implementing screening measures and precautions. It was important to us to be ready to serve and protect our community when it entered our counties. In addition, the facilities are all in 24/7 Incident Command and remain in close contact with one another.
On Saturday, Gov. DeWine talked about how hospitals must work together. It’s the only way we can get through this approaching peak. That is exactly what the North Coast Healthcare Collaborative has been doing because we know together we are stronger. How we as a region are coming together to deal with this crisis bodes well for how we will come out of it
In addition, the hospitals have a variety of implemented a variety of other measures including:
Magruder has launched a COVID-19 website specific to current hospital restrictions, education and prevention, and other national and state resources.
Fisher-Titus has launched a public health campaign reminding people on proper hand washing techniques, to cover cough/sneezes, and to stay home/social distance.
Bellevue Hospital has stayed connected with our community to assess their needs by setting up virtual meetings with City of Bellevue officials and local clergy to discuss ways to help residents during this time of uncertainty
We also ask that when obtaining information on the COVID-19 pandemic, the public do so from reliable sources such as the local hospitals and health departments, Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).