Medical staff ‘tired, stressed,’ but determined to help
McCOOK, Neb. -- Like medical workers across the state, Community Hospital’s staff is “tired and stressed,” by dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic but “they are ready and willing to continue to do what is asked of them because they are so dedicated to their community and hospital,” said Troy Bruntz, president and CEO.
The hospital has five COVID-positive inpatients and 14 total beds used today, he said, but “we were at 19 for a few days until today when we dropped some.
“Given the extra staff needed to care for patients these days due to the PPE used, 14 is a welcome level,” he said.
“Based on recent trends in positive tests and the time of year, we expect the census to stay high and for capacity here and everywhere to be at critical levels. We have stopped doing some electives (surgeries) again and are assessing the need to close more services as needed,” Bruntz said.
North Platte’s hospital is in similar straits.
“To date, we have not exceeded capacity, but that could change very quickly,” said Mel McNea, Great Plains Health chief executive officer. “Hospital capacity fluctuates based on several factors that, at times, vary by the hour.”
Currently, Great Plains Health has approximately 76 staffed beds and nearly 30 of those beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
“Mel McNea, our CEO, is administrator-on-call this week, which means that he is evaluating every case, every day to ensure we are still able to provide safe care to our region,” said Megan McGown, marketing manager. “Hospital leadership is assessing services to match care demands, bed availability and staffing.”
“Much like hospitals across the state, we are about as full as we can get and still serve the needs of the region,” said McNea. “This is a fluid situation with staff availability, varying acuity of patients and the resources needed to care for COVID patients, treat traumas and continuing to care for sick patients. The capacity issue is not unique to Great Plains Health. Across Nebraska, there are only 26 percent of beds available and that number is shrinking quickly.”
“We need every member of our community to help change the course of this disease,” said McNea. “We are pleading with you all to do the actions that we know work: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid gatherings, stay home when you are sick and maintain a six-foot social distance from others.”