ANDERSON – Hospitals in Madison County are preparing for an expected surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
During a webinar Thursday hosted by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, officials with both Community Hospital Anderson and Ascension St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital indicated they have been planning for the pandemic for several weeks.
Beth Tharp, president of Community Hospital Anderson, said the hospital has increased the number of its isolation rooms from nine to 50.
“We know we will see an increase in patients,” she said. “We know the surge is coming. We have added several isolation rooms for COVID patients.
“We have the expected surge physicians in place to care for patients,” Tharp added. “The staff help is already in place. The staff is responding. We know the community needs us now.”
Mike Schroyer, president of Ascension St. Vincent Northeast Region, said they have purchased 900 ventilators that will be distributed throughout the health network as needed.
Both hospitals reported an adequate supply of personal protection equipment from the state.
Schroyer said the local hospital is anticipating three times the number of COVID patients than would normally be seen with the flu.
Tharp said Community Hospital has put in place a triage tent as a precaution, but it’s currently not in use.
“That will allow the lobby area to be converted into a care area,” she said.
Schroyer said Ascension had not erected a triage tent as of Thursday, but one could be put in place within several hours.
He said everyone entering the hospital is being screened for the coronavirus.
“We’re looking at adding negative pressure rooms to protect our employees and patients,” Schroyer said.