The Geary Community Hospital board of directors met Tuesday afternoon at the hospital and over Zoom teleconference where chief executive officer Frank Corcoran updated the members of the recent surge in cases within the county.
“There's a lot of uptake in the community — the numbers are up,” he said. “I’ve been tracking the percent positive that we test. For example, we've tested 642 so far in December, and that's up quite a bit from what those prior months. Of those 642 tested, 182 were positive. That's a 28% positive rate of the ones we've tested here. To compare to a prior month (like) October or November, we were up to 17% positive test rate.”
Corcoran compared the latest empirical data to data since the hospital started offering COVID-19 testing.
“Prior to that all months combined is about a 7% positive rate,” Corcoran said. “So, we definitely see the numbers going up.”
Corcoran also told members about the uptick in cases at area long term care facilities and credited the staff at Valley View Senior Life for their work.
“We had a spike in a nursing home,” Corcoran said. “Dr. (Andrea) Mace, who's been working with us, taking care of the patients there, she's done a really good job of keeping those patients there. Staff help with IV fluids. I think that maybe two came from the nursing home, of the 59 positives. So, she's doing a really good job and we need to acknowledge that.”
Along with update on the community positive rate, Corcoran informed the members of number of cases being cared for in the hospital.
“Our COVID volume, our census, has been up,” he said. “We've been running anywhere from nine to 11 COVID patients in the hospital. (The) ICU has been running three or four patients and Med-Surg has been running five to seven patients over the last few weeks. The staff here have done a really good job, the providers have done a really good job taking care of these patients. So we want to thank all the hard work. We're seeing and uptake. We're holding our own at the moment.”
Adopt a unit
Ashley King, GCH director of communications, has reached out to area businesses to see if they would be interested in adopting a care unit to bring food, snack and drinks for the staff as a sign of appreciation for what they are doing for the community.
“I know what the one thing we need,” Corcoran said. “To put the mask and gowns on — it's hot … hydration — Gatorades maybe some water and that sort of thing.”
“I've created a little flyer we'll send out to the businesses, hopefully this afternoon because there's several businesses (interested in helping),” King said. “It outlines whether you want to adopt a certain department — to bring box lunches and so forth, or if you want to do snacks.”
Board members nodded in agreement to the idea.
The state of Kansas has been allotted 24,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Corcoran said.
“We don't know how many we are going to get,” he added. “As of now, we still haven't received any. So, we have a process in place. The frontline staff, providers are up first for the dose. Dr. Mace has requested to get the vaccine. So, we're going to have an order — which staff go first — and then we can have a SurveyMonkey to go out to staff see who wants to take it, who's interested in taking. Then we will come up with how many people we have who will get the first doses, then we'll go from there.”
In a round of talking about the number of doses and when GCH might get theirs, someone in the room stated they heard that ViaChristi in Wichita received only five doses. The five chosen were several nurses and an information technician who is working on a floor with numerous confirmed cases who is working on communication lines for those patients.
The board mention Irwin Army Community Hospital and the uncertainty of when doses would arrive or how many would arrive on Fort Riley.
After Corcoran finished, interim chief financial officer reported the latest financial information.
The hospital is currently operating in the black, but that is due to the grants and returns from the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID dollars has helped, with the SPARK grants and updating some things in our hospital that have been neglected for a few years,” King said. “And as you compare a year [ago] to now — e’ve made great strides. And we anticipate that to continue into the black.”
King said the hospitals main concern is staffing to take care of the number of patients, but the hospital, itself, still has room to take care of patients if the need arises.
“So, we have plenty of beds, I don't know that we have enough staff for that,” she said. “That's going to be our number one issue — with staffing. And we meet daily at one o'clock to figure out where we are staff wise and if we have enough staff to take care of everyone.”
Tuesday the hospital reported having five patients in ICU, four on a ventilator, and five in the Med-Surg floor. Number are updated throughout the week on both the GCH and Junction City Union Facebook pages.
King clarified the discrepancy in the reporting numbers issued by GCH and the Geary County Emergency Management office.
“The county only reports Geary county residents,” she said. “We house patients that live in Dickinson, Riley or Morris (Counties).”