Asante & Providence discuss challenges of Covid-19 pandemic

“We have an ability to impact this. It’s really focused on the behaviors we choose to engage in,” said Asante’s Chief Medical and Quality Officer, Dr. Jamie Grebosky.

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis that’s tested the leadership of local hospital systems.

Dr. Grebosky says the biggest challenge the hospital has faced is their limited ability to provide continued care to the community.

“From our expanding to open up video visits to keep patients and staff protected and preserve PPE, to having to delay urgent procedures in our hospital,” he said.

With an increased demand for Covid-19 tests, Dr. Grebosky says testing supplies are running low.

In April, the average test volume at Asante’s Medford collection site was 56 tests per day, that number jumped to 225 per day in June.

“Given the lack of supplies and reagent to run the tests, we have to triage those tests to the most critical ones,” said Dr. Grebosky.

Providence Medford Medical Center’s CEO Dr. Tom Lorish says the hospital is also feeling the impacts of the supply shortage.

“As a part of a large 7 state organization, we do have access to testing and can push the supplies to provide it. That said, it’s still very scarce.”

When it comes to intensive care unit space and personal protective equipment, Dr. Lorish says the hospital is doing well.

As of Friday morning, he says they had no Covid-19 patients.

“We have enough capacity to run our hospitals, take care of our caregivers, and do the appropriate testing but we don’t have a lot of excess capacity and I believe that’s true for everyone; this will be an issue going forward,” he said.

Asante says its ICU also has enough space with 22 unused beds, 55 unused ventilators, and can surge almost an additional 100 ventilators.

But in the weeks to come, both hospitals say that could always change.

“Like I said it’s a marathon, so more to come but let’s be vigilant,” said Dr. Lorish.

Asante says it plans to meet with Oregon Governor Kate Brown next week to ask about more testing supplies.

If the hospital does not get more supplies, we’re told tests will have to be sent to the state lab resulting in longer wait times for results.

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