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Augusta Health says they're prepared for any possible COVID-19 surge

Part of the surge plan is ensuring the hospital has the space to take on a large number of patients. | Credit: WHSV
Part of the surge plan is ensuring the hospital has the space to take on a large number of patients. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread in the Shenandoah Valley, Augusta Health in Augusta County said they're preparing for what a possible surge could look like.

The hospital said their surge plan is part of the standard Emergency Operations Plan, and theirs was developed over a year ago. Since then, Augusta Health said they've stress-tested the plan several times, including this year with a high-volume flu season.

"We are ready to take a surge of patients, both in our emergency department and in our hospital here," Dr. William Doherty, vice president and chief medical officer of Augusta Health, said.

Part of the plan is ensuring the hospital has the space to take on a large number of patients.

"We've modeled that we'd be able to take about a 50 percent increase of our normal bed capacity, right here, on our campus, within the walls of the hospital," Dr. Doherty said.

He added currently, their normal capacity is around 255 beds. In order to accommodate the surge, the hospital has re-engineered some of their spaces that are not normally used for in-patient care.

"We have other units that we could potentially start to re-purpose, to think about using our post-anesthesia care unit for in-patient potential beds, which we traditionally would only reserve for patients after anesthesia, and after procedure," Dr. Doherty said.

The plan also includes ways to keep patients they're treating for COVID-19 separate from patients who come in for other emergencies.

"We have targeted zones within the emergency department to be able to see an respiratory related patients in short order," Dr. Doherty said.

In addition to the targeted zones, Dr. Doherty said Augusta Health has added 11 negative pressure rooms and 32 additional isolation rooms.

The hospital is also predicting what they think the surge could be, based on predictive models. They also consider the area the hospital serves, including the population and demographics of the area. Even though Augusta Health is confident they can treat the surge they've predicted, they're still asking people to stay home.

"We would like to never have to get to managing that highest level of surge, though," Dr. Doherty said. "It's imperative that the, if our communities can support us, by heeding the advice of the governor and the executive order, I think that's a key message here."

Augusta Health has provided a comprehensive breakdown of their hospital surge plan, available to anyone,

.

They're also keeping a section of

constantly updated with the latest on their local response to the coronavirus.

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