“Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” Providence Medford Medical Ctr. CEO talks COVID-19 preparedness

MEDFORD, Ore. — Like all hospitals in the Rogue Valley, Providence Medford Medical Center (PMMC) is getting ready for an increase in patients.

“We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” PMMC CEO Dr. Tom Lorish. “I think we’re at the very beginning of what’s going to happen.” Dr. Lorish said in the fight against coronavirus, right now is the calm before the storm. “I think over the next week or two we’ll see where it peaks out,” he said.

Dr. Lorish said he thinks we’re in good shape at the moment but given the rapid spread across the world, medical professionals need to be on high alert no matter what. “If you asked me four weeks ago what the probability of a global pandemic would be, I’d say it…it’s not gonna happen. It’s very unlikely, but what we do prepare for is disaster preparedness,” he said.

Last fall caregivers were sent for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) training. While the training is for catastrophic events like earthquakes, he said it’s incredibly similar to what we’re seeing now.

“Preparing the team, have a command structure that goes up through the region in the system within Providence and goes down into the caregivers so we can communicate and prepare, address issues,” Lorish said, “we drill these all the time.”

Dr. Lorish said he thinks the Rogue Valley is already seeing the benefits of social distancing, adding that continuing to do it is incredibly important going forward.

When it comes to how long we’ll have to do it for, he said he’ll leave that up to public health officials.

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