corona Wood County Hospital

A homemade sign is attached to a stop sign near the entrance to the Wood County Hospital Tuesday afternoon. 

Wood County Hospital continues to prepare for the expected surge of coronavirus cases.

“We still have no confirmed COVID patients here at Wood County,” said Cristy Walton, vice president of development at the hospital.

The county has 15 cases as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Wood County Health Department. Eight cases are hospitalized, but not at Wood County Hospital.

Walton said that the hospital is using Battelle, the Columbus company that was in the news this weekend when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine personally called President Donald Trump about the business.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration initially decided to allow Battelle to sterilize 10,000 N95 surgical masks per day. After DeWine’s call, that number went to 80,000 per day, and could be more.

“We’re pretty excited,” Walton said of their first N95 mask shipment on Tuesday.

She said previously the masks were discarded after use in the Intensive Care Unit or other critical care areas.

With Battelle sterilization, the masks can be used up to 20 times.

The hospital masks are now discarded into a special bin after use, then shipped to Columbus and returned within one to three days, Walton said. Wood County Hospital has its own code on the masks.

“It’s a great process for us,” she said.

Personal protective equipment is constantly being looked at, Walton said.

“It’s something that we’ve been evaluating everyday. We’ve got a lot of donations from the community,” she said.

“We were pretty comfortable with what we had, but with the surge and not knowing, it helps us out,” Walton said of the Battelle process.

Hospital staff have also converted 13 rooms and is adding beds, she said.

There are 100 active beds in house, but that includes everything, such as the emergency room and obstetrics, she said.

It’s difficult to put a number on the coronavirus cases that Wood County Hospital could handle, Walton said.

“It’s not really the number of cases, it’s the severity of each case that presents,” she said. “Every patient that presents could be extremely different.”

The hospital has also increased its supply of ventilators, with 43 on hand, she said.

Wood County Hospital will probably not be taking patients from Michigan, which has become a hot spot for COVID-19 in recent days.

“That topic has come up and we have not seen that. We’re hoping Michigan will be able to take care of their own patients,” Walton said.

Preparing for coronavirus cases is never ending, she said.

“We continue to evaluate the situation every single day, we’re working on staff redeployment so we can staff for the surge,” Walton said. “We have been working around the clock on evaluating all of this.”

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