The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents a rapidly changing situation that Kiowa County Hospital District (KCHD) AKA Weisbrod Memorial County Hospital is just as rapidly responding to. Community response to a global epidemic takes a village. We are in frequent contact with Kiowa County Public Health, Prairie Pines, Kiowa County Ambulance Services, and all our staff. The providers, Dawn Back, PA, Jessica Hyman, FNP, and David Lenderts, MD have been an integral part of our interdisciplinary team charged with preventing the spread of COVID-19, mobilizing supplies, and preparing our organization for the potential arrival of patients suspected of having COVID-19.
KCHD has been constantly monitoring the websites of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and has participated in COVID-19 webinars on pre-hospital services (ambulance), current recommendations for the clinic, hospital care, and long term care. A comprehensive, fluid pandemic plan has been created and operationalized. On Tuesday, March 11th, staff attended live education classes held at KCHD.
A triage system has been put in place for anyone calling the clinic or hospital with symptoms of acute respiratory illness - such as fever of 100.4 F or greater, with cough, or shortness of breath. Staff are well prepared to direct calls to appropriate providers and ensure that your health is our highest priority. In addition, front desk staff: Shea Johnson, Stormi Nash, Dally Jo Sagner, and Braylynn Eder, (our billing manager), have gone over and above to make sure that our patients and staff are safe.
We continue to provide FIT tests to all our employees. FIT tests are designed to make sure that the masks to protect health care providers from COVID-19 fit correctly - ensuring that our staff are protected so they can be healthy to take care of you. Eunice Weber, ambulance director, has joined us in providing FIT tests to the ambulance crew and other first responders who have the potential to be exposed.
Based on current recommendations for long-term care, visitors there are now restricted except under emergent circumstances at the discretion of the charge nurse on duty. We understand that the emotional and psychological needs of our patients are very important too, and that visitors play a key role in supporting those needs. We will work to make sure that alternate ways of communicating with family and friends are available. Some of those options are phone calls and Facetime. Brandy Turcotte, social services director, personally called all families of our long-term care patients to ensure they are up to date on the evolving situation. Brandy will continue to work to keep families up to date and ensure that alternative means of communication are available. Non-essential vendors/solicitors are not permitted at this time, but essential vendors bringing in supplies and providing other essential services are being screened at the door for travel history as well as signs and symptoms.
Central Supply Staff, Dreama Buck and Marla Rasmussen, are doing everything they can to ensure we have adequate supplies to meet this challenge head-on.
Gloria Trosper, lab director, and Krissy Ray, lab tech, are constantly monitoring the testing guideline changes for COVID-19, working to obtain additional testing supplies and working with public health to arrange courier services to take samples directly to the CDC lab in Denver. However, a shortage of these kits is a reality for our hospital as well as for other area hospitals. Until the shortage is resolved, we will rely on the guidance from public health officials and the expertise of our phenomenal providers to prioritize testing.
The medical and nursing staff have trained and prepared for this for years. In fact, every department head has been involved in disaster planning. Renay Crain, quality director, has done a phenomenal job of disaster preparedness. A full-scale exercise that involved not only KCHD, but also the sheriff's department, fire department, public health and the ambulance service was completed in September of 2019.
Each nurse, provider, Medical Assistant and Certified Nurse Assistant is committed to providing the very best quality care to every person who walks through our doors, no matter what. In fact, every member of our team is up to date, committed and on board with this pandemic plan. Housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, billing, medical records and dietary staff have worked with team to ensure that every aspect of care has been considered.
This is our wheelhouse. This is what we do every day, no matter what the circumstances, because we care about every patient. You are our family members, neighbors and friends and we are here to serve you. Please help us all stay healthy by following the recommendations of handwashing, social distancing, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or arm, staying home when sick (except when accessing care) and calling ahead before accessing our facilities.