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Davis Medical Center at full capacity

ELKINS — Davis Medical Center officials announced Friday that the hospital is at full capacity and now has “no ability to transfer patients to other facilities because there are no available beds” due to COVID-19 cases.

“This situation will fluctuate daily but we are anticipating the situation to remain constant for approximately six weeks,” Dr. Mindy Chua, chief medical officer and Davis Health System incident commander, said in a press release Friday. “The DHS Incident Command team has deployed procedures for surge capacity including repurposing other areas of the campus for patient care. We are making immediate changes to our operations.”

Chua listed the changes being put into place:

“Patients scheduled for non-urgent or non-emergent surgeries may be rescheduled if an inpatient surge requires use of additional patient beds or the reassignment of nursing staff. These decisions are being made daily and patients will be contacted if rescheduling is necessary.

“New screening procedures will be implemented next week to maintain the safety of patients and staff. These CDC requirements are the same standards initiated at hospitals across the country. We understand this may add a few minutes to your visit but please be patient with us. The screening process allows us to have clean spaces for our healthy outpatient adult and pediatric patients.

“When inpatient units reach capacity, we will reassign staff to cover the demand in our Intensive Care and Acute Care units. Our nurses and providers are picking up extra shifts. We have an adequate supply of PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure the safety of all staff and patients.”

“We are allowing end-of-life visits for one immediate family member,” Chua stated. “We understand the emotional strain and pain of families faced with the loss of a loved one. Although some patients decline very quickly, we promise to make every effort to support your family during these times and in the event that a family member cannot be present, know that your family member’s nurse or care provider will be by their side.”

Chua also warned that the situation is likely to get worse.

“When I talk to colleagues from other healthcare facilities who have been where we are now, I realize this is only just beginning,” Chua said in the press release. “Through teamwork we will embrace the challenges before us with all of the skill, science and compassion we possess as healthcare workers. With all of this in mind, I am asking you, our community, to be patient, kind and follow the preventive measures with which we are so familiar: wear a face covering, practice social distancing, and use proper hand hygiene frequently.”

Chua also listed “a few more important points we need our community to know:

“1) For the flu, strep and other acute illness, please use Davis Medical Center’s drive-thru care on the DMC campus and at DirectCare of Elkins. Our drive-thru’s are convenient and safe for various patient needs.

“2) Come to the Emergency Department when you are experiencing severe illness, injury or symptoms. Do not be afraid of the emergency de-partment (it is more sterile and clean than any shopping /store you visit) and understand that waiting or putting off care can complicate your condition.

“3) Community spread is occurring. Transmission by persons who are asymptomatic is a large part of our problem. Masking, social distancing, and eliminating friend/family gatherings will slow community outbreak and save lives. Yes, save lives. Please be aware of the risk you bring to others when you host these gatherings.

“4) The COVID vaccine offers some hope. As vaccination roll-out continues in West Virginia, PLEASE read the science, not the tabloids. We don’t expect our local COVID surge to pass quickly and the more people who are vaccinated, the faster we can slow this down.

“5) Regularly check-in with family and friends who are home-bound or who live alone. Feelings of isolation can heighten stress and/or depression. Help them feel connected and make sure their essential needs are being met.

“6) Please be patient with our staff as they are adapting to changes daily. Our goal is to provide care as efficiently as possible but new processes may require extra time. Understand that we are doing the best that we can.

“Thank you to the providers, nurses and all Davis Health System staff,” the press release states. “Thank you to our community for doing the right things, and embracing the opportunity to be part of the solution. Be safe and be well.”

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