Local hospitals adapt to serve patients during pandemic

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 6:44 PM CDT
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We're learning more about how local hospitals are handling the pandemic. UW Health, SSM Health Hospitals, and UnityPoint Health - Meriter tell NBC15 they’ve been able to manage the capacity of COVID-19 patients.

There have been no bed shortages at this time but officials have plans in place in case a surge happens. SSM Health officials say between Madison, Janesville, and Baraboo it’s treating more than a dozen COVID-19 patients with the majority in Madison.

Meriter says it has about a dozen patients who are COVID-19 positive being treated in the hospital. The majority are not requiring ICU-level care at this time and officials say several have been cared for and discharged over the last few weeks. Meriter’s ICU is not at capacity and has the ability to expand further. It’s the same situation at SSM Health and UW Health.

All three hospital systems say they are currently comfortable with the ventilators they have and PPE supply but are actively working to get more and find ways to make the most of what they have as shortages continue across the country. "I wouldn't say we have an overabundance of PPE so we're continuing trying to think of innovative ways to reserve our PPE to potentially reuse it, finding ways to clean it or as you heard about having other folks make those badger shield those face shields," said Dr. Jeffrey Pothof UW Health Chief Quality Officer.

Pothof says amid the pandemic, UW Health staff have also been flexible taking on duties not typically part of their normal work. “We've also done a healthy shadowing program where we take a nurse who is a general care nurse and have that nurse shadow and intensive care nurse so they really get a good feel for what it would be like,” he said.