LISBON, Ohio (WYTV) – The Columbiana County Health District said hospitals in the area are prepared for a surge in COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals have been working together for weeks to get ready for this and develop a plan.
In emergency situations like this one, a larger health care network involving entire regions of the state is activated to make sure no hospital is overwhelmed.
Our area is in Region 5 — North East Central Ohio — and includes 13 counties, 27 hospitals and 10 specialty, step-down hospitals. Health care providers in this region are communicating with each other so they can share resources and make sure all patients are getting the care they need.
“All of the health care centers across the entire NECO region are working together. The larger centers are particularly important as a ‘next’ level for patients that exceed the capabilities of the small/medium hospitals,” said Dr. John P. Crow, associate chief medical officer at Akron Children’s Hospital.
If necessary, Region 5 can expand into a Super Region, which would include health systems across the entire northern part of Ohio. Some health care systems may even be able to work with nearby hospitals in neighboring states.
In addition to the region strategy, local hospitals have been expanding their capabilities.
East Liverpool City Hospital has secured additional ventilators and medical supplies.
“We are confident that we are prepared for a surge within the East Liverpool community and have ample supplies for issues and illnesses related to COVID-19 should our community members need medical treatment,” said Dr. Gretchen Nickell, chief medical officer.
Similarly, Salem Regional Medical Center has been working around-the-clock, getting ready for more patients. The hospital has been reconfiguring its space to create designated overflow areas if needed.
“This reconfiguration of our facility flexes our capacity to care for an influx of severely ill patients and we stand ready to serve our community’s needs,” said Dr. Anita Hackstedde, president and CEO.
The hospital has also rolled out a virtual intensive care unit program.
“This innovative program provides round-the-clock access to critical care specialists, who collaborate with SRMC’s physician and bedside staff to provide an extra layer of monitoring and support to enhance our patients’ care and safety,” Hackstedde said.
Salem Regional also opened an outpatient COVID-19 clinic several weeks ago, which has provided care to almost 300 patients.