Ready if needed

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

'Spencer Hospital is prepared to care for a COVID-19 patient today'

Although Clay County has not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19, Spencer Hospital administrator Bill Bumgarner indicated they are ready to handle cases should the need arise.
File photo

As COVID-19 tests in northwest Iowa begin showing positive results, Spencer Hospital President Bill Bumgarner said the medical team at the region's largest care facility are ready to tackle a patient determined to be infected with the coronavirus.

"COVID-19 preparation is an evolving process in that the hospital is adapting its care system to meet what's expected to be a much higher demand for inpatient services," Bumgarner said. "However, Spencer Hospital is prepared to care for a COVID-19 patient today."

At the present time, the hospital has inpatient 49 beds for hospitalized patients and with proper planning will have the capacity to care for up to 100 in the hospital building. The hospital team is also putting a contingency plan in place for offsite care should it be required.

At the present time the hospital has 10 ventilator units available and Bumgarner is anticipating additional units with governmental assistance.

"Like other hospitals nationally, Spencer Hospital will be dependent on the federal government to initiate action that would result in access to additional ventilator units," he said.

Bill Bumgarner

Under the current conditions, nonessential services in the hospital has ramped down to limit the risk of exposure to the virus to care providers. The facility is continuing to care for those with serious health conditions.

Bumgarner stressed the need for the public to stay at home when possible calling it "the most important action the public can take to help the Spencer health care team."

He explained, "Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is critical to reduce the tremendous demand on the health care system that we've all witnessed in other communities in the United States and around the world."

With the unique circumstances, the public has accepted the policy changes and new screening procedures at the hospital according to the administrator. Likewise, he is pleased with the teamwork between medical professionals locally.

"I'm extremely proud of the tremendous spirit of collaboration demonstrated by all members of the Spencer medical community," Bumgarner said. "This includes physicians, medical clinics, nursing homes and others who are coming together to meet this unprecedented challenge. Across the board, good people are rising to the occasion."

That extends to the public who have offered donations of supplies, gestures of good will and words of encouragement.

"We're humbled by the care and concern being extended to our health care team by so many," Bumgarner said.

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