Tia Lynn Ivey
As hospitalizations for the coronavirus increase across the state, Morgan Medical Center (MMC) in Madison is taking extra precautions to enhance patient-care and ensure the safety of both patients and healthcare workers. Hospital visitations have been suspended again and everyone entering the hospital must have their temperature taken.
As of press time on Tuesday, July 21, Morgan Medical Center, the $35 million new hospital with 25-licensed hospital beds, is currently at 71 percent capacity. According to hospital leaders, the capacity rates frequently fluctuates with or without the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning on the pandemic, Morgan Medical Center has conducted 623 coronavirus tests, yielding 61 positive results.
“Some of the positive cases have been able to be discharged home to quarantine, some have been cared for as an inpatient at MMC, and still others had to be stabilized and transported to other facilities,” explained Megan Morris, director of community affairs and public relations for MMC. “In every situation, our employees had the necessary equipment and training to be able to meet the needs of the patient.”
Statewide during the month of July, testing increased 35 percent, with almost 440,000 new tests administered, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) But new cases have risen by 45 percent, which health experts attribute to a surge in spread, not just increased testing availability. With more cases come more hospitalizations. According to the GDPH, more than 15,000 Georgians with COVID-19 have been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic, with 2,829 Georgians infected with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU. More than 3,100 Georgians have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.
As of press time on Tuesday, July 21, 84 percent of critical care beds in Georgia are currently occupied, according the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. The agency also reported 79 percent of general inpatient beds are in use and 59 percent of Emergency Room beds are in use. Hospitals in “hot-spots” throughout Georgia, such as Atlanta, have reported temporarily reaching capacity and diverting patients to other hospitals due to a spike in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
MMC is working to address coronavirus cases in the safest manner possible, aiming to give all patients proper healthcare services while taking precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
“MMC follows the latest guidelines for screening, testing and infection control, as well as our own stringent protocols to prevent the spread of disease,” explained Morris. “We are equipped to treat a wide variety of conditions and are accustomed to working closely with larger hospitals in the region to facilitate the transfer of patients who need a higher level of care. The COVID pandemic has been no different in that regard. Our employees have worked tirelessly to care for all patients, including many with a COVID diagnosis, over the past four months and will continue to do so as the need arises.”
As coronavirus cases spike in recent weeks, new restrictions have been put in place at the hospital to prevent further spread.
“Our COVID Incident Command Team continues to meet regularly to stay apprised of the progress of the virus and makes adjustments as necessary,” said Adam Bedgood, chief nursing officer. “For example, with the recent increase in local cases we have discontinued visitation within the hospital again. We will continue to make decisions with the safety of our patients as our top priority…At this time, all individuals entering the hospital must have their temperature checked by our new thermal scanners and wear a mask while in the building. This process will continue until we feel that it is no longer necessary.”
The hospital is also replenishing its sock of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to meet the needs of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are working to optimize our supply of PPE as much as possible in accordance with CDC guidelines,” said Bedgood.
Morgan Medical Center CEO Ralph Castillo is proud of the hospital’s dedication and determination in the face of a challenging pandemic.
“I have shared with our staff throughout this time a Winston Churchill quote that exemplified my expectations throughout this pandemic: ‘It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required,’” said Castillo. “I am so proud of the manner in which our staff has stepped up to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented. Caring for our community in times of need is exactly what we are here for and what we will continue to do.”