Like all hospitals in Illinois, Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon adopted Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s government order and for a interval from March via April ceased all elective surgical procedures.
The hospital spent thousands and thousands to arrange for a surge of coronavirus instances that didn’t come.
However whereas the primary, spring COVID-19 surge didn’t hit Dixon, KSB President David Schreiner stated in latest weeks there was an explosion of instances, and that earlier planning is coming into play.
“Our in-patient census has been high, so there have been times when we’re at over 100% occupancy. You think: How can that happen? But it means that we created two patients in one room … we haven’t done that as KSB since the 1980s,” he stated. “We had full intensive care unit beds with a number of ventilators. We proceed to see high-volume in our drive-thru COVID clinics.”
Southern Illinois Healthcare has devoted two of its three downstate amenities, together with its Carbondale hospital, to coronavirus sufferers.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marci Connelly-Moore stated SIH noticed a blip of a COVID-19 spike within the spring, however nothing like what the system has skilled in latest weeks.
“We averaged over the summer season in all probability about 10 COVID sufferers per week that had been getting admitted. The final 4 weeks we presently are proper round a census of 50 and 60 COVID in-patients every day,” she stated. “As we see more in the community, we obviously see more with our employee population too.”
Connelly-Moore stated on Tuesday, 180 SIU workers had been out for coronavirus-related signs; 100 of them have examined optimistic for the virus. Others may be in quarantine as a result of a relative has COVID-19.
For each hospitals, the main problem isn’t room for extra hospital beds ought to sufferers want them; it’s the fear over whether or not there might be sufficient medical personnel to employees the beds.
“Our staff are tired. They’re working extra hours. They’re being called on days off and asking if they can come into work, they’re picking up extra shifts,” KSB’s Schreiner stated.
Take nursing for example: SIH’s chief nursing officer says well being care amenities at all times have nursing shortages, even earlier than the pandemic.
However the scarcity is amplified when employees nurses can’t work as a result of they both have COVID-19 or are in quarantine, at a time when there are extra sufferers than ever.
“It requires your coworkers to pick up additional shifts. It also requires for us to not be able to potentially take some patients into beds that we typically would be able to,” stated SIH Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Harre.
Contracting with non-public company nurses additionally isn’t viable prefer it as soon as was, given excessive demand nationally.
Harre stated it’s an ideal storm.
“To take care of a COVID affected person simply takes extra sources,” Harre stated. “So if a typical nurse ration on a medial flooring may be 5 to at least one — 5 sufferers to at least one nurse — on a COVID flooring, it may be extra like three sufferers to at least one nurse simply due to the time that it takes to placed on the proper PPE, take off the proper PPE.”
Hospital directors stated managing the employees state of affairs is a continuing puzzle.
Morris Hospital in Grundy County final week noticed an all-time excessive of 41 sufferers – greater than half the sufferers in your complete hospital.
It’s right down to round 30 sufferers as of Tuesday, however CEO Mark Steadham stated that may change quickly.
Morris has 89 hospital beds whole, although some are devoted for particular functions, like maternity.
“So in the case of medical and surgical sufferers, it’s actually about 60 sufferers we are able to have. So when you consider it, 40-plus sufferers out of 60 beds had been COVID-positive sufferers. That’s a big affect on us. Final week we needed to postpone three elective surgical procedures just because we didn’t have beds to place these sufferers in after surgical procedure,” Steadham stated.
Lots of Illinois’ 51 vital entry hospitals, that are categorized by the federal government as having 25 beds or fewer, are additionally dealing with these pressures for the primary time, provided that the primary COVID-19 surge was primarily concentrated in city areas.
“We have patients that are sick coming in our doors no different than in a larger facility, but the challenges are a little bit more unique,” stated Pat Schou, director of the Illinois Important Entry Hospital Community.
It comes as monetary pressures have lately pressured small, rural hospitals to shut.
Schou stated it’s vital – notably given Illinois’ massive agriculture-centered economic system – that rural areas have high quality well being care entry.
“We’re here to serve you. When you’re driving up and down those highways and you have to come in to a rural hospital, you want to make sure that it’s an excellent hospital,” she stated
Among the many points are restricted sources — employees, monetary and tools.
“Sometimes we’re the last person on the list to get testing equipment, or PPE, things like that. Just because we’re smaller,” she stated. “We’ve had difficulty getting surgical gowns … we’ve had to buy — many of our hospitals have bought material and made their own.”
KSB in Dixon is what’s recognized within the business as a “tweener” — it’s a normal and acute-care hospital, and in between a vital entry hospital and a bigger one which’s a part of a broader community or affiliated with a college.
Schreiner stated that may have benefits, however it could possibly additionally imply that the hospital has to compete with bigger methods for PPE.
“We have to go out there and find that. In the spring it got really tight, and then like everyplace else we built up our levels, and now we’re going though that in a very quick way. So we worry about supplies and having the necessary safety equipment for our employees,” he stated.
Observe Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky