Redfield Community Memorial Hospital and Clinic has been putting in many hours of preparation to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the community. Along with daily meetings and precautionary actions recommended by the CDC, the hospital and clinic is well stocked on N95 masks, cloth masks for visitors, and PPE (personal protective equipment).
“Surgical masks. Disposable gowns. Face shields. We have adequately what we need for our facility, and also for our patients. Anything they need. They just need to know that we have well-supplied PPE and everyone will be safe when they come in,” said Dawn Oakley, an EMT for the Spink County Ambulance Service and CMH employee. “We have been fortunate, you know, compared to some places.”
Oakley said some of CMH’s face shields were donated by Lake Area Tech and some were purchased by the hospital. As for gowns and masks, some were donated and some purchased as well.
“It is unclear how long this is going to go on. We have a surge plan, is what we call it,” said Oakley, describing the hospital’s plan to appropriately respond in the event of a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the area. “We are right where we need to be for our surge plan.”
The hospital and clinic continue to screen their staff, visitors and patients daily. Screening procedure includes taking an individual’s temperature and asking them CDC-recommended questions such as “have you had any symptoms of cough, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or loss of taste or smell?”
“Anytime we leave the facility. We go to lunch, come back, we get screened and temped,” said CMH Administrative Assistant, Judy Carroll. “I go to the bank for the Foundation, come back, get screened and temped.”
“I am from the Home Health Department and we have continued through this whole situation to service our patients in the community like we always have, taking extra precautions of wearing our masks, gloves and face shield,” said CMH employee, Shawn Groft.
Other preparations include virtual visits.
“We, as a facility know we can’t do it alone…We are set up with E-care. We have E-hospitalists, an E-infectious disease person, and E-respiratory therapy. We have an iPad that we can contact them, they contact us back. It is a virtual visit,” said CMH employee, Rubiann Fisher.
As for rooms for COVID-19 patients, the hospital has created a separate wing for them. CMH currently has five negative pressure rooms to safely manage actual COVID-19 patients. (A negative pressure room uses lower air pressure to allow outside air into the isolated environment. This traps and keeps potentially harmful particles within the room by preventing internal air from leaving the space.)
“Our maintenance department has put up a wall to block off our COVID wing so we would be keeping patients separate,” said Judy Carroll.
“We are very appreciative of the staff at CMH. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, CMH is well prepared for COVID 19,” said Tom Snyder, CEO of CMH.
Meanwhile, staff have also expressed their appreciation for the outpouring of community support during this time. Many donations, including food, have been presented to the hospital staff by the public. The prayers of the community have also kept them going.
“I was on call one weekend and on Sunday a bunch of cars came into the parking lot. So I said to the nursing staff ‘there is a bunch of cars coming in here!’ And they all sat out in the parking lot [in their vehicles],” said Oakley. “We found out that they were from the Catholic Church and they were praying the rosary. They were praying for us. They went to the nursing homes also. We were all in tears…to know that your community supports you. It really just got us all in the heart.”