Person Memorial Hospital preps in the midst of pandemic

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Person Memorial Hospital is preparing for additional cases of COVID-19 in Person County, hospital CEO David Ziolkowski said Tuesday.
Ziolkowski said Person Memorial is working with the Person County Health Department and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to screen and test the appropriate patients based on Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
“In the event of a possible case of COVID-19 or any infectious disease, our clinical teams are trained on the proper procedures and protocols to minimize the risk of spreading germs. And we have a robust emergency operations plan that serves as our roadmap to prepare and respond to COVID-19,” Ziolkowski said.
Person Memorial Hospital is conducting COVID-19 tests on patients who meet the required conditions.
“We work with the local health department to follow all appropriate guidelines from NCDHHS and CDC to determine if testing is recommended based on symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 or these symptoms and a negative flu test,” Ziolkowski said.
Those tests have a varied turnaround time.
“In some cases we receive results in a few days, but it may also take over a week,” Ziolkowski said. “With the increased volume of testing, wait times have increased.”
Ziolkowski said the hospital’s response to COVID-19 is an extension of an emergency operations plan that was already in place.
“Our emergency operations plan was developed over a decade ago and is updated regularly so that we are prepared to address any emergency in our community, including mass casualty events, natural disasters, and infectious disease outbreaks, like COVID-19,” Ziolkowski said. “Our EOP coordinates six critical areas: communications, resources and assets, safety and security, staffing, utilities and clinical activities. For COVID-19, our team will leverage our EOP to address an influx of patients, how we keep our staff and providers safe and how we safeguard the organization and community against further spread.”
As nationwide discussions on tests, ventilator and equipment availability continue, Ziolkowski said Person Memorial Hospital has enough tests to meet the current demand and available ventilators for severe COVID-19 cases.
Ziolkowski wrote that Person Memorial Hospital is reducing its usage of personal protective equipment, but currently has an adequate supply.
A Monday Facebook post from Person Memorial Hospital asked those with unused protective equipment and supplies such as disposable masks, gowns, gloves, and shoe covers to consider donating them to the hospital.
“We have an adequate supply of PPE at this time; however, in the midst of a nationwide PPE shortage and a potential surge of patients, we appreciate any and all donations to ensure we are well stocked and supplied for whatever may come,” Ziolkowski said.
Those with unused supplies and equipment to donate to Person Memorial Hospital may contact Jef Wright, Director of Materials Management, at 276-666-7568 to arrange delivery.

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