Yesterday, Butler, Missouri:
This week, BCMH leaders met to share and inventory our current capability, overflow options, equipment and supplies, and the strategies we might need to engage to meet the current surge in positive COVID-19 patients. We are seeing an increase in our Family Care Clinic visits, Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations, and while other viruses are circulating, COVID-19 is the major concern.
Our emergency room and rural health clinics are seeing entire families who are sick, and those with COVID span all ages. Hospitalized COVID patients are generally sicker than those we have cared for in the past. Our clinics are also seeing a small amount (around 1%) of “breakthrough” cases (vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19). These individuals typically experience milder illness.
We are also observing:
COVID-19 accounted for nine out of 14 inpatients on July 29, a record number of COVID patients for our rural hospital, only one of which was a transfer from a neighboring hospital. We are at capacity. To put this in perspective, our hospital’s average census is around 5-7 inpatients per day. Our managers are communicating daily with their peers in other hospitals in the region, and the story is the same everywhere: hospitals are either full or nearly full.
Staffing and Equipment Limitations
Capacity involves much more than having a bed, or a hospital room, available. Our hospital is equipped and staffed to take care of our current patients, but we do have limitations on capacity for COVID-19 patients. We are planning for an all-hands-on-deck situation, and part of that strategy is to prioritize our staff and equipment during surge, and what we might be able to do in case of overflow.
Since the worldwide pandemic began, our hospital has been spared a truly serious surge, until now. We are fully in surge mode. While the complexity and the weight of the pandemic has been a burden on all of our health care workers, we have faith that our staff is strong in spirit, capable of meeting whatever is to come with courage and grace. We have prepared for this, and we are ready to care for you.
Please take every possible measure to protect your health, and the health of those around you. BCMH strongly encourages vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. Vaccines are available at area pharmacies at no out-of-pocket expense.
If you haven’t already done so, get vaccinated.
Wear a damn mask.