Augusta Health reopens final phase
While it's not totally business as usual, Augusta Health moved in to Phase III on Monday, meaning it's offering all the same services it did before the pandemic.
Phase III brought back elective procedures that required an inpatient stay. Administrative director of surgical services Shawn Craddock said while it was the "simplest expansion," since it was just one aspect of the hospital, it needed to be the last phase.
"It is the most complicated because of all the post-operative services that these patients may require," Craddock said.
Throughout the entire reopening, the hospital has been monitoring indicators like PPE on hand, how many cases of COVID are in the community and bed availability in the hospital. The last factor was important for this last stage of reopening, since the inpatient surgeries would require a hospital stay.
"We're also monitoring on a daily basis what our capacity is in the hospital itself, to make sure that we have the inpatient beds and support that we need," Craddock said.
He added after reviewing the indicators, which they do daily, and will continue to do for months, the hospital staff feels confident moving forward.
"Those things have remained steady throughout all of our ramp-up planning and we determined that it is safe, and that it was the right time for us to move forward," Craddock said.
People in the community will now be able to get procedures they've been putting off. The hospital says total joint replacements are a key surgery available again.
"All of those patients that have been living with knee and hip pain these past several months, we can now get them in and get that pain taken care of," Craddock said.
These procedures all require a COVID-19 test before they can be completed. The hospital said they're still maintaining social distancing within the hospital to keep everyone healthy.