On April 17, Lucas County Health Center (LCHC) staff spent the afternoon rehearsing its response to a potential surge of COVID-19 patients checking in at LCHC Medical Clinic.
LCHC’s Incident Command Team has designated the Specialty Clinic and Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab areas to serve as a Respiratory Clinic for COVID-19 patients. During this mock exercise, team members were faced with an imaginary surge of patients experiencing respiratory symptoms.
“Although we don’t currently have any confirmed cases in Lucas County, it is incredibly important that we are prepared,” said Brian Sims, CEO. “If and when we get a case, we want our community to know that we are ready and are doing everything we can to keep them safe.”
In the event of a patient surge, response teams will implement a process that begins with a quick assessment of the patient. Patients without COVID-19 symptoms will be directed to the clinic for standard care. Those with respiratory symptoms will be sent to an isolated area in the Respiratory Clinic where medical teams will determine if they need testing for the virus and hospitalization or whether their symptoms are mild enough to warrant being sent home with instructions for monitoring.
“The goal of this exercise is to familiarize our medical team with procedures that allow them to act swiftly and decisively,” said JoBeth Lawless, Chief Nursing Officer. “By conducting a dry run, we can evaluate and improve our process so we’re ready to go.”
LCHC’s Incident Command Team will evaluate the exercise results next week and will prepare to set up a Respiratory Clinic before Iowa is expected to hit its peak. Additionally, a similar exercise and designated response area will be set up on the hospital side.
“We have a lot of patients concerned about coming to the clinic because they don’t want exposed to COVID-19,” said Amy McCurdy, Chief Clinical Officer. “Setting up this Respiratory Clinic is just one more step we can take to keep our patients safe.”
As of April 17, Lucas County does not have a confirmed case of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
Stay updated on COVID-19 in Lucas County, Iowa by visiting www.lchcia.com