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By Vince DiFranco
CEO, W.J. Mangold Memorial Hospital—
The novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, has disrupted almost all of 2020 and will continue to make an impact well into 2021.
At W.J. Mangold Memorial Hospital and the Cogdell Clinics in Lockney and Silverton, we have continued to adjust and adapt our methods and policies to provide the best care to our patients and the communities we serve. The current status of COVID-19 in our region is very concerning as cases and hospitalizations are the highest they have been since COVID-19 hit West Texas. The larger hospitals in Lubbock and Amarillo have intensive care units near capacity and it has been very difficult to transfer patients from rural community hospitals to the larger hospitals in our region. In addition, hundreds of healthcare workers in the region are being quarantined because of positive COVID-19 test results or exposure from family members and friends. In some circumstances hospitals as far as Denver and Phoenix, Arizona have received patients transferred from West Texas hospitals.
It is critical that we wear masks when leaving our home, practice social distancing and not participate in public gatherings. We would not want anybody in our community to experience a poor outcome because they could not receive the level of care necessary to recover from COVID-19.
At W.J. Mangold Memorial Hospital we have open inpatient beds and have plans to convert more beds for COVID-19 patients if necessary. We have planned well and have adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use by our staff. Since we anticipated COVID-19 coming initially, months ago, we have more equipment for disinfecting areas such as ultraviolet lights and a Halo Fogger. We are continuing to limit visitors and have the Rapid COVID test, although we are limited on how many test kits we can order. We have medications available to help patients recover from COVID-19 and our providers have researched what treatments have been effective in other parts of the country and around the world.
I have been encouraged by the positive effect the medication regimens that our physicians order have had on treating COVID patients. In addition, new medications approved to treat COVID-19 patients are now becoming available. I am also encouraged by the speed and availability of potential COVID-19 vaccines. There appears to be “light at the end of the tunnel”, however it is extremely important at this point, to be safe and abide by the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of this virus. These practices will also aid in reducing the transmission of flu.
But please remember to not avoid the emergency department if you have symptoms of a serious medical condition. The emergency department is the best and safest place to be treated for conditions such as heart attack, stroke, abdominal pain and many others. We have gone above and beyond to ensure the safest experience. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed the extent to which adults are bypassing medical care because of their COVID-19-related concerns. According the authors, 41% of U.S. adults delayed or avoided medical care as of June 30. This includes urgent or emergency care (12%) and routine care (32%).
The American Hospital Association and medical providers nationwide have warned that such deferrals are putting lives at risk unnecessarily during the COVID-19 public health emergency and urges patients to seek necessary care.
Feel free to call the hospital or clinic at 806-652-3373 if you have any questions. Please be safe, wear a mask, wash your hands and let’s continue to fight this virus!