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Augusta Health plans phased re-opening

Augusta Health said asymptomatic carriers can spread COVID-19 without even realizing it. | Credit: WHSV
Augusta Health said asymptomatic carriers can spread COVID-19 without even realizing it. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: May. 12, 2020 at 6:51 PM EDT
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As the state is re-opening, Augusta Health is re-opening as well. Certain areas of the hospital are re-opening for normal procedures, and they have a plan in place for opening Augusta Health fully.

Shawn Craddock, administrative director of surgical services at Augusta Health, said safety is the most important consideration.

"The first priority here at Augusta Health is always safety, and so the safety of the community, of our patients coming into the building, as well as our staff and physicians that work here in the building," Craddock said.

Diagnostic imaging, diagnostic cardiology, and the pain management center have all re-opened. Craddock said in order to keep those areas open, and continue re-opening other areas, there are certain factors they are monitoring.

"Our current PPE level, so how much PPE we have in house, as well as how much we're using each day, and what the prevalance is of the disease process, not only in the community, but also how many patients we have here in the hospital, and what level care they're at," Craddock said.

If there is too much a change in those factors, Craddock said that will impact their re-opening process. In order to continue offering procedures, Craddock said they have to have an adequate amount of PPE for both staff and patients, and enough COVID-19 tests for people who have to be tested before a procedure. If they have concerns about supply, or their stock, that will lead to changes.

"We can act fairly quickly to either slow down the ramp up, stop the ramp-up in the phase its in, or we can also ramp back down to ensure that we properly care for the patients," Craddock said.

The hospital also has screening steps in place to ensure everyone coming in for a procedure is healthy. Craddock said they're also limiting the amount of movement within the hospital.

"We're doing screening for all of our patients, so all of our patients will receive a phone call, they'll receive screening," Craddock said. "It may be recommended that they get COVID-19 tested, so we're doing some of that as well."

Craddock said if people had procedures that were moved, their provider will be contacting them about rescheduling. He said it's important these procedures are taken care of, since they're diagnostic and are important to maintaining health.

The plan to re-open the hospital fully has three phases. Craddock said they don't have a definitive date for each phase, but as each phase can be maintained safely, they'll move on to re-opening another area of the hospital.

The next phase would be re-opening outpatient surgery and the endoscopy unit, as well as the cath lab, sleep lab, and inpatient and outpatient invasive radiology procedures.

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