Rural hospitals working together to stay ahead of possible COVID-19 equipment shortages

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SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — Rural hospitals in areas like Lillington, Dunn, and Sanford are like any other hospital in the state. They have to be prepared for patients with COVID-19. 

An early decision is one reason Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford is better equipped than it might have been.

“Because we’re not doing elective surgeries that’s certainly helped with in-patient admissions. Our emergency room has not been as busy as it normally is so we feel like we’re in good shape right now to absorb any surge of patients that might come. We also have contingency plans if a surge outpaces our physical bed capacity which also means we might have to look at setting up additional beds in procedural areas or other parts of the hospital where we might not normally keep in-patients,” said the hospital’s CEO Spencer Thomas.

Thomas also says there is communication between hospitals if one needs something like ventilators that another isn’t using.

“So should Central North Carolina not be as hard hit as another area we would be able to help out and vice versa but right now we feel comfortable with the equipment that we’ve got,” Thomas said.

CBS 17’s Russ Bowen asked, “masks and gowns do you have enough?” Spencer replied, “we have been working very hard to conserve our PPEs over the last couple of weeks to sort of build a stockpile to make sure that we’ve got what we need. We’re like many hospitals in that we’re observing conservation strategies. We have asked for donations from individual businesses or individuals who might have surgical masks, N95 masks or respirators they’d like to donate to the hospital. We’d certainly appreciate that”.

“What would you say to people who are concerned and not quite sure what lies ahead just to reassure them” asked Bowen.

Thomas reiterated the need for people to stay home and to only go out for things like groceries and medicine adding  “if folks are sick and they need our help we’re here. Our doctor’s offices are open our emergency room is open and we’re here if you need us”.

As of Thursday afternoon Central Carolina Hospital has one COVID-19 patient in ICU.

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