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Chief medical officers of metro hospitals provide COVID-19 update

Posted at 10:59 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 19:23:52-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Three hospital administrators said Friday they’ll use every resource and space inside their hospitals they can as more COVID patients enter their facilities.

While they believe new restrictions could help their situation. they expect more of their beds to fill up.

“We very well could exceed capacities, if the transmission rates, in subsequent hospitalization rates don’t decline,” says Dr. Harris Frankel, Chief Medical Officer of Nebraska Medicine.

They say they’re currently working on what they call the ‘crisis standard of care,’ which they would go to if every bed is filled. and every resource and staff member is used up.

“We may be placed in a position, not by choice, but by circumstance of having to make forced decisions in a unique environment,” says Frankel.

One option they have is to use specialty hospitals, which aren't being used to treat covid patients.

“Right now we don’t need to utilize them but they have staff, they have nurses, they have beds, they have ventilators,” says Dr. Bill Lydiatt, Chief Medical Officer at Methodist Hospital.

One reason hospitals are filling up quickly is not just the sheer amount of COVID patients, but that they also stay on average longer than regular patients.

“By taking on more COVID patients we are squeezing our ability to care for these other complex, highly acute patients, who other wise seek care here,” says Frankel.

The three hospital leaders are pleading with Nebraskans to stay home, and wear a mask, with at least one saying a mandate would help.

“Without directing anyone in particular or anybody in particular, I think there is likely to be a higher rate of participation when things are mandated,” says Frankel.

The main issue area hospitals are facing at the moment is staffing said the CMOs. All three are carrying out balancing acts; having to call in staff from other hospitals and shifting patients to other locations to keep beds available.

They urged everyone to take the virus seriously and do their part to prevent the spread by avoiding confined spaces, avoiding crowds and gatherings, practicing good hand hygiene and masking up.

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