COVID-19 surge impacts Perry County Memorial Hospital

Coronavirus Watch Indiana

TELL CITY, Ind. (WEHT)– Perry County Memorial Hospital leaders are dealing with high numbers of positive cases. This is a trend they noticed in October. They say they are trying to lower the risks for their nurses and doctors.

Perry County Memorial Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer Bill Bryant said sometimes it’s hard to predict which patients will develop COVID-19 symptoms severe enough to land them in the intensive care unit.

“It’s a very non-discriminatory virus,” explained Bryant. He said they have seen patients of all ages become very ill with COVID.

Although, COVID-19 patients aren’t the only ones being hit with respiratory illness symptoms. This is something hospitals see more of this time of the year because of the flu.

“We have seen a drastic increase as far as emergency room patients admitted to the floor, with and without COVID,” said Corey Filley, the Perry County Memorial Hospital Emergency Services Director. He said they’ve had plans in place to keep patients and staff safe while treating more COVID-19 patients, but they weren’t bracing for the trend they are seeing now.

“The difference is patients are sicker now than they were,” Filley explained. “Sicker than we anticipated them to be. I think that just proves the importance of everybody wearing their masks and not politicizing that and washing your hands especially as we go into flu season.”

The hospital has witnessed more seemingly healthy patients develop bad respiratory issues after testing positive for COVID.

“Sometimes people have underlining conditions they are not aware of and we know this triggers for them as well, but people who have seemed perfectly healthy prior to contracting COVID have become very sick,” said Bryant. He said, so far, just a few of their patients have been put on ventilators, but just weeks ago hospital staff were treating eight COVID-19 patients on top of experiencing an influx of other patients.

“To have eight positive cases mixed with a high census it was a little challenging,” Bryant said. Medical staff are taking the same safety precautions with everyone who are admitted in the hospital.

“It puts staffing in the front on how are we going to maintain this every day and every shift to keep it safe and avoid that COVID fatigue,” said Bryant.

911 dispatchers are still asking callers questions before sending an ambulance. This screening is then relayed to the hospital.

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(This story was originally published on Nov. 12, 2020)

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