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Critical Access Hospitals preparing for spread of COVID-19

Dr. Rob Davidson photo
Dr. Rob Davidson

Slowing the spread of the coronavirus is at the heart of mitigation plans being implemented by university’s and colleges moving to online learning and organizations cancelling events. Still, it will spread. And there’s a concern small, rural critical access hospitals may have a difficulty handling the influx of patients.

WGVU spoke with the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Medicare who is also an emergency physician in Fremont.

“It’s all about resources.”

Dr. Rob Davidson in an emergency medicine physician at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.

“We have 25 beds, inpatient 20 beds in the air we have for isolation rooms in the hospital and seven ventilators and only about a 180 of those N95 masks that they say…now, they used to say that was required, I think the CDC said yesterday changed the recommendation for health care workers just to use simple masks, but we have three nursing homes within about a five-mile radius of our Hospital and if one of those nursing homes has a fairly well appearing nurse or nurse's aide go in and potentially give it to somebody in the nursing home, that could overwhelm our system in our town. There's I think 50-some hospitals like ours, critical access hospitals in the state, you know, there's 1,300 and some across the country. What percent of those become overwhelmed where this becomes crippling, particularly in small communities. That's, I don't worry about me getting sick. I'm young. I’m relatively healthy. If I get it, I think I'll be fine. I'm worried about A, my not being able to work. I’m worried about B, about our hospital becoming incapacitated. So, we are taking every measure possible to not have that happen.”

Dr. Davidson says an aggressive testing of the public and healthcare workers for coronavirus is needed now.

I’m Patrick Center.