All ARHS Employees and Medical Staff,

It has been a very busy week in our health system.  As COVID cases have increased in our communities, our health system has also experienced higher volumes in our ambulatory and ED locations.  As a result we are almost at capacity in our second COVID unit (3 East) at WMC and are making preparations on 3 South to open a 3rd unit if needed.  Not only are we seeing a surge in COVID, we are seeing a surge in medical patients that need more intensive care than we have experienced in previous months.

We are working diligently to alleviate the strain from the surges, as well as any and all obstacles for you to care for our patients safely and effectively.  We have daily calls to stay on top of COVID rates in our community and manage:

  1. Bed Capacity
  2. Available Staffing
  3. Testing & PPE Utilization

This is what we do best as a health system- take care of our patients when needs are the greatest! We recognize success in caring for patients during this surge cannot be achieved by merely a few.  It will take commitment from the entire team to meet these needs.

We certainly understand the apprehension with regards to caring for or entering designated COVID areas.  However, we have made your safety our priority in providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to care for these patients.  We expect all staff to commit to using their PPE and taking care of our COVID patients when your department is involved in their care.  When entering a COVID area, staff must wear a mask and eye protection.  Unless you are directly entering a COVID patient’s room, no additional steps should be taken regarding PPE.

Be vigilant in not touching your mask or face, hand hygiene, and social distancing during breaks and meals.

To ensure constant readiness, ARHS has accepted state resources to establish a mobile unit outside the ED ambulance area at WMC.   This unit is a preventive step that will allow us to cohort COVID patients within the ED if our volumes continue to rise and ensure we can continue to provide ED services to non-COVID patients in a safe environment.  If you see this unit at WMC, please know it is in anticipation of this need and will not be utilized unless we need the additional space.

Thanks to each of you for your continued contribution to this extraordinary team effort.

Amy Crabbe, Chief Operating Officer

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