Stormont Vail adding changes, canceling some elective surgeries because of rising coronavirus concerns


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Stormont Vail Health said Tuesday it’s making changes within the next week because of concerns due to the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Stormont said as of Tuesday, they’re in the “orange level.” The hospital said it has 66 coronavirus positive patients right now which is the highest number to date at the hospital.

In addition to the number of coronavirus patients, Stormont Vail said it’s seeing the highest levels yet on other indicators on its COVID-19 Scorecard:

  • The percentage of patient testing positive for coronavirus is 28.3% for testing of symptomatic patients across our system. The indicator for community spread is 5%.
  • 524 coronavirus tests were administered Monday.
  • Their respiratory clinics saw 71 patients and their testing center had 345 visits.
  • Calls to their “Call Before You Go” (COVID-19 hotline) were at 906 Monday.

Because of those high levels on the scorecard, Stormont Vail is making specific changes beginning within the next week to help them redirect their resources to respond to the surge in cases:

  • With the goal of increasing nursing staff and hospital bed capacity, beginning Nov. 17, all elective surgeries will be rescheduled to the Main Operating Room. Stormont Vail Single Day Surgery and the Excellent ENT Surgical Center will be closed for elective surgeries, with the exception of ophthalmology. For the surge period, they will selectively reduce elective procedures requiring overnight stays. The pre-post area will be converted to a 13-bed overnight stay area for surgical patients.
  • Urgent and emergent surgical needs will continue to be met for the community. Designated medical-surgical /ICU patient rooms will be segregated for those patients following surgery.
  • All team members who can work remotely will be moved to that status.
  • They will activate an expanded Labor Pool to provide them with additional staffing from areas outside of their traditional patient care departments or areas that have shifted work priorities. Those individuals will primarily be supporting critical needs areas within the hospital, COVID-19 testing center, respiratory clinics, Call Before You Go line, and any other functions to help them maintain services in the areas of greatest need. This may mean they are asked to work in areas outside of their normal role.
  • They will suspend non-essential projects to allow a focus on coronavirus response.
  • All non-essential meetings and trainings will be suspended.
  • Vendors and sales representatives will only be permitted in facilities if they are for direct patient care support.
  • Telemedicine in the clinics will be increased to reduce the number of patients coming into clinics.

We have been continually monitoring how we can maximize our capabilities to care for patients. For hospital care, it is becoming increasingly difficult in this pandemic environment. The ability to take another patient involves a capacity management plan that is a complex algorithm of available beds and equipment and most important, staffing levels. These factors continually shift throughout the day as the acuity of patients change, and as patients arrive or are discharged. In the COVID-19 environment, this becomes even more complex, as we have team members who are ill with the virus through the community spread or are on contact leave because of exposure. For example, if one nurse is unable to come in for a shift that can result in having to reduce the number of patients we can safely care for during that time period.

– Robert Kenagy, Stormont Vail Health President

Stormont Vail Health said 75 employees and six providers currently have the coronavirus.

“This pandemic is real and has reached a new and very dangerous level. Our team members are doing the best that they can to care for our communities, but they need the help of everyone if we are going to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the hospital said in a news release. “Now is the time to act responsibly, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay distant and avoid social gatherings. These are not difficult measure to understand or follow. We as influencers in our circle of friends and acquaintances can have a real and effective impact. Now is the time!”

You can read Stormont Vail’s full scorecard for yourself below.

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