This week, BCMH leaders met to share and inventory our current capability, overflow options, equipment and supplies, and the strategies they might need to engage to meet the current surge in positive COVID-19 patients. BCMH is seeing an increase in their Family Care Clinic visits, Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations, and while other viruses are circulating, COVID-19 is the major concern.
BCMH emergency room and rural health clinics are seeing entire families who are sick, and those with COVID span all ages. Hospitalized COVID patients are generally sicker than those they have cared for in the past. Their clinics are also seeing a small amount (around 1%) of “breakthrough” cases (vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19). These individuals typically experience milder illness.
BCMH is also observing:
Dwindling Capacity: COVID-19 accounted for nine out of 14 inpatients on July 29, a record number of COVID patients for our rural hospital, only one of which was a transfer from a neighboring hospital. BCMH is at capacity. To put this in perspective, Bates County Memorial hospital’s average census is around 5-7 inpatients per day. BCMH managers are communicating daily with their peers in other hospitals in the region, and the story is the same everywhere: hospitals are either full or nearly full.
Staffing and equipment limitations: Capacity involves much more than having a bed, or a hospital room, available. BCMH hospital is equipped and staffed to take care of their current patients, but they do have limitations on capacity for COVID-19 patients. BMCH is planning for an all-hands-on-deck situation, and part of that strategy is to prioritize their staff and equipment during surge, and what they might be able to do in case of overflow.
Resilience: Since the worldwide pandemic began,Bates County Memorial hospital has been spared a truly serious surge, until now. They are fully in surge mode. While the complexity and the weight of the pandemic has been a burden on all of their health care workers, they have faith that their staff is strong in spirit, capable of meeting whatever is to come with courage and grace. Bates County Memorial Hospital has prepared for this, and they are ready to care for you.
Please take every possible measure to protect your health, and the health of those around you. BCMH strongly encourages vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. Vaccines are available at area pharmacies at no out-of-pocket expense.