Redfield Community Memorial Hospital and Clinic well prepared for COVID-19 surge
By Shiloh Appel
Early in the pandemic, Redfield’s Community Memorial Hospital prepared for a surge in COVID-19 cases. The hospital started out with a separate COVID-19 wing that had five negative pressure rooms for COVID-19 patients. Now, as cases rise in Spink County, more rooms have been added and things have become more permanent.
“We have four permanent [negative pressure rooms] and five portables,” said CMH employee, Donny Soderquist. “The portable ones can be moved to any room.”
The negative pressure rooms use lower air pressure to allow outside air into the room. This traps and keeps potentially harmful particles within the room by preventing internal air from leaving the space. The portable negative pressure ventilation systems are made to connect to existing ventilation in any room they are moved to, thus creating an instant negative pressure environment.
“It goes through a HEPA filter. So it is filtered, and then the air is reused,” said CMH employee, Mike Sanger. “In the four rooms where these are actually mounted and fixed, you wouldn’t even see it. All you see is the grill in the ceiling.”
Currently, Redfield CMH has a bed capacity of 25. (Each room can have two beds). However, CMH has very rarely doubled up on beds. On September 30th, there were no COVID patients at CMH. Since the beginning of the virus, there have been 20 total hospitalizations due to COVID (as of Monday, October 12th).
“We are fortunate in that 99 percent of the time we don’t have to double up rooms. We can get people their own rooms,” said Chief of Staff, Dr.Kris Wren.
The clinic also regularly sets aside two to three rooms for respiratory clinic.
“We also have one of those portable [ventilators] in one of the rooms in the clinic, so we have plenty of rooms to see outpatients in,” said Dr.Wren. “So it’s good. This has been months in progress between everything. These guys (Sanger and Soderquist) have really done the work as far as figuring out what we need, getting it done, and getting it installed. The fact that we can get it is great.”
Dr.Wren also pointed out that the permanent ventilation doesn’t take up floor space, allowing more space for patients.
“Having it in the ceiling, we’ve really got the best of both worlds,” she said.
Eventually, Wren said the plan is to have even more ceiling located devices in the clinic, providing permanent rooms for respiratory clinic.
“In fact, the devices are ordered. The plan is to install those whenever they are available,” said Dr.Wren.
The hospital has also stocked up on airway management devices for patients, such as ventilators and high-flow nasal cannulas.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 also have the opportunity to be in CMH’s COVID Transition program, managed through Home Health.
“We send them an oximeter to check their oxygen levels, a thermometer and a packet of COVID information. We deliver that to them and then we do daily phone calls while they are quarantined in order to check on them every day. It keeps us busy, for sure,” said Home Health nurse, Courtney Appel. “They bring the stuff back after they are released from quarantine.”
In the meantime, as cases hit their peak this fall season, Redfield CMH and Clinic is well prepared to handle more patients.