WYSO

Healthcare Organizations Planning To 'Surge' To Meet Coming COVID-19 Demand

Mar 24, 2020

With community spread of COVID-19, and cases popping up around the Miami Valley, healthcare organizations are getting ready for the influx of new patients.

Local healthcare organizations say they are doing everything they can to lower demand for healthcare. They are trying to limit the spread of coronavirus transmission now, so they don’t get overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients later.

"Right now, that is the biggest concern, is that if we had a large influx of severely ill individuals, the healthcare system would not have the amount of personal protective equipment, the gloves, the masks, or ventilators to help support those individuals," said Melissa Howell, Greene County Public Health Commissioner.

Flattening the curve and spreading cases out isn’t just to protect COVID-19 patients. There needs to be room for everyone else who needs to use the hospital, too.

If overwhelmed, Ohio’s local health system is planning to “surge” its capacity — opening up additional beds within existing hospitals. In a press conference last Tuesday, Dr. Mike Abrams, President and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association, says Ohio’s health system has planned for this, and has room to give.

"We can safely surge another 25 percent without doing anything extraordinary at all," he said.

And if the surge needs to get bigger than that? Abrams says hospitals around the state are talking about reopening facilities that have recently closed, or even moving noninfectious patients to local hotels.