Jackson Purchase Medical Center CEO Dave Anderson said Friday it had no COVID-19 patients and none pending for the first time in 49 days.
The hospital had closed its special isolation unit (SIU) and Anderson hopes it will remain closed.
“It feels really good,” he said. “Of course, you don’t want to count your chickens. We pray that it’ll stay at zero. It probably won’t, but there is nothing currently that would cause an uptick.”
While the unit is currently closed, they could easily and readily open it at any time in the event of a resurgence of not just COVID-19 cases, but any disease that require such measures. Due to their pre-emptive efforts to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak, JPMC is more than ready.
Throughout Graves County’s outbreak, that had seen 151 cases as of Friday, Andersons said there had never been any incidents with cross contamination in the hospital.
“We never had a patient that came in here and was exposed to a COVID positive patient and became sick because of it,” he said.
The downward trend in active cases has also allowed them to bolster their PPE supply, as well. Anderson reported that the hospital now has over 50 days worth of operating surgical PPE on hand. There are also no current backorders or shortages in surgical PPE.
However, one thing that has been of great concern for Anderson throughout the pandemic is people in need of emergent care have assumed that the emergency room was also closed. Some, he said, also were afraid of contracting COVID-19 by simply going to the hospital, which was highly unlikely.
“We’ve been doing emergent surgeries this entire time,” he said. “The hospital is wide open and there’s really nothing we’re restricted on, service-wise. I think that my prayer is that everyone will begin to seek care that they’ve been deferring over this time.”
While its ER was fully operational, Anderson said some procedures were paused for the duration of the pandemic, like colonoscopy screenings. The national average for detecting adenomatous polyps is 25% for males and 15% for females. However, he noted that in this area, those numbers are doubled with 50% detected in males and 40% in females.
Mammograms were another important procedure put on hold statewide amid the government shutdown. As part of Healthcare Phase Three for the state’s re-opening, these procedures are now available once more, albeit at 50% capacity if in-patient electives. On May 27, hospitals will be able to hold in-patient surgeries at 100% at their discretion. Anderson encourages anyone that needs these procedures to do so.
“We’re going to work hard to take everyone quickly, he said. “They need to go to their doctors and seek the preventative care that they have waited on. We’re hear to care for them and we’ll do a great job.”
Anderson said to expect news on relaxing visitation rules at Jackson Purchase in the coming days. He said that while it is possible for a coronavirus resurgence to hit, the hospital is at a point where it’s more than capable of managing the crisis.
“The hospital has been completely safe the entire time we’ve gone through this,” he said.