Working together as a community is something that Bellevue knows well, but as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to ramp up in Ohio that sense of community has grown stronger.
“The Bellevue Hospital has been working diligently to put contingency plans in place to prepare for coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect our community,” said Michael K. Winthrop, president and CEO of The Bellevue Hospital (TBH). “We also have been meeting with city officials and local clergy to discuss ways to help residents during this time of uncertainty.”
“Our community has been amazing. Many corporations, organizations and individuals have stepped up to provide our staff food, sew masks and provide supplies we may need if we see a surge in illness.”
How is the local hospital preparing for COVID-19? TBH has a group of leaders who are assigned to monitor the most current outbreak information on a regular basis. This process is called the Incident Command System (ICS).
ICS is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. This system is used during disasters such as tornados, floods and virus outbreaks.
“We stand ready to take care of our residents and help our community to fight this virus,” said Dr. Corey Fazio, TBH’s Chief of Staff.
TBH began planning in late January for COVID-19 and assembled into its Incident Command System in early February, said Patty Semer, vice president of Administration at TBH.
As a healthcare organization, TBH has been participating in drills and practicing for these types of incidents with our regional partners including hospitals, health departments and safety organizations.
“Many of our leaders have 20 to 30 years experience in this type of disaster planning and we are ready to handle situations like this,” Semer said. “In the past, we have used this procedure during tornados, H1N1 in 2009 and Ebola epidemic in 2014.”
“As a group, we actively monitor information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health and the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio so we can update our plans as needed.“
TBH’s physicians also are involved in the planning.
“Hospitals and health systems are focused on identifying, isolating and informing on new cases of patients known or suspected of having the virus. Our medical staff have been researching and keeping up with best practices to protect our healthcare workers, patients and community from this illness,” said Dr. Fazio.
In addition, the local community hospital is closely following CDC recommendations on how to best use and preserve existing supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to concerns about limited supplies. TBH is consistently monitoring supplies on-hand so that we are prepared for any potential increase in patients exhibiting signs of COVID-19.
“We will continue to work very closely with the Huron County Health Department and Sandusky County Public Health, as well as our surrounding hospitals to protect our community,” Winthrop said. “We are all in this together.“