4 Corners Prepares for COVID-19 Surge

04/14/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (200 resident, 18 non-resident), Archuleta (36 resident, 31 non-resident), Montezuma (109), Dolores (1), San Juan (2). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (2), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (2), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 47,968 cases, 6,487 hospitalized, 1,844 deaths among cases, 1,710 deaths due to COVID-19, 548,808 tested, 483 outbreaks, colorado.gov

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grows in the region, local hospitals and medical centers are preparing for a surge in patients as they continue to preach the benefits of social distancing.

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LOCAL HEALTH OFFICIALS WARN RESIDENTS TO REMAIN VIGILANT ABOUT OBSERVING SOCIAL DISTANCING AND STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS TO AVOID OVER-TAXING LOCAL HEALTH-CARE SYSTEMS. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY PJ's GOURMET MARKET IN DURANGO AND CHOICE BUILDERS ACE HARDWARE IN CORTEZ. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT EARLIER THIS MONTH PREDICTED THAT THE NUMBER OF COVID-19 PATIENTS COULD EXCEED THE STATE'S HOPSITAL CAPACITY BY THE END OF APRIL, DEPENDING UPON HOW DILIGENT RESIDENTS ARE ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING AND STAYING AT HOME. AND LOCAL HEALTH-CARE OFFICIALS SAY THE FOUR CORNERS REGION MOST LIKELY WILL HAVE THE CAPACITY TO CARE FOR THE SICKEST PATIENTS IF RESIDENTS CONTINUE TO PRACTICE EFFECTIVE SOCIAL DISTANCING TO SLOW THE INFECTION RATE. MORE THAN 200 CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN SAN JUAN COUNTY, NEW MEXICO, AND THE FIVE-COUNTY REGION OF SOUTHWEST COLORADO.  MORE THAN 20 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED, AND SEVEN HAVE DIED AS OF MONDAY, APRIL 13TH. SAN JUAN COUNTY, NEW MEXICO, REPORTS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES AT 173. LA PLATA COUNTY IS NEXT WITH 44 CASES, INCLUDING 3 HOSPITALIZATIONS;   MONTEZUMA COUNTY REPORTS 12, WITH 3 HOSPITALIZATIONS AND TWO DEATHS. AND ARCHULETA COUNTY REPORTS 6 CASES. SAN JUAN AND DOLORES COUNTIES IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO HAVE NO CONFIRMED CASES. ACCORDING TO HOSPITAL WEBSITE INFORMATION, THE REGION'S SIX HOSPITALS CAN PROVIDE ABOUT 380 BEDS FOR A TOTAL POPULATION OF 223 THOUSAND PEOPLE. THE REGULAR NUMBER OF INTENSIVE CARE UNITS IS MUCH SMALLER AT ABOUT TWO DOZEN. BUT EACH HOSPITAL ALSO HAS THE CAPACITY TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF BEDS TO HANDLE LARGE-SCALE  EMERGENCIES, AND HOSPITALS IN PAGOSA SPRINGS, DURANGO, CORTEZ, FARMINGTON AND SHIPROCK HAVE BEEN MEETING SINCE JANUARY TO PREPARE FOR A SURGE IN PATIENTS WHO NEED ACUTE-CARE FOR COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO COVID-19, THE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS CAUSED BY THE CORONAVIRUS.
SO EACH HOSPITAL HAS COME UP WITH A PLAN THAT MOST OF THEM, YOU KNOW, INCREASE  HOSPITAL BED CAPACITY BY 50 PERCENT, IF NOT DOUBLE IT, YOU KNOW, INCREASE IT 100 PERCENT OF WHERE IT IS RIGHT NOW. BUT THEN THE NEXT STEP IS TO HAVE ALL OF THESE HEALTHCARE FACILITIES WORKING ACROSS THE REGION FOR HOW THEY WOULD TRIAGE AND, AND CATEGORIZE PATIENTS SO THAT THEY'RE, WE, WE GET THE BEST UTILIZATION OUT OF EVERYBODY'S SURGED FACILITY. SO THAT'S THE GOAL. EVERYBODY IS ACTIVELY AT THE TABLE WORKING ON THEIR PLANS AND SEEING HOW THEIR PLANS COORDINATE AND LOOKING FOR GAPS TOGETHER. JOLLON SAID THE EXACT NUMBER OF BEDS AVAILABLE FOR COVID-19 PATIENTS IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AS HOSPITALS ADJUST AND READJUST THEIR RESPONSE PLANS. SAN JUAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER  HAS DIVIDED ITS HOSPITAL INTO COVID AND NON-COVID FLOORS AND OFFICIALS SAY THEY CAN DOUBLE THE HOSPITAL'S 194-BED CAPACITY ON SITE.  IT ALSO IS WORKING WITH THE NEW MEXICO NATIONAL GUARD AND FEMA TO CREATE A 50-BED ALTERNATE-CARE FACILITY FOR PATIENTS WHO DON'T REQUIRE ACUTE CARE, BUT AREN'T ABLE TO GO HOME. SOUTHWEST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN CORTEZ HAS EXPANDED INTO AN OLD HOSPITAL WING AND ITS EMERGENCY MEDICAL CENTER TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL 60 BEDS MORE THAN THE 25 IT REGULARLY HAS AVAILABLE.WHEN WE BACKUP WE ARE BASICALLY USING THE OLD SECTION OF OUR HOSPITAL, THE SECTION THAT WE UTILIZED BEFORE WE OPENED UP THE NEW INPATIENT SECTION AND THAT'S ALLOWED US TO, I BELIEVE, IT'S TO ADD 38 BEDS. I THINK THAT WAS THE NUMBER, PRETTY CLOSE TO THAT. SO THAT'S GOING TO GIVE US A LITTLE OVER 60 BEDS AVAILABLE. FROM THAT, WE ALSO CAN UTILIZE, WE'VE SET UP OUR AMBULANCE BAY AS A SORT OF A SECONDARY SITE ALSO AND SOMEWHERE WE CAN ADD SOMEWHERE RIGHT AT 30 ADDITIONAL BED IN THAT AREA. SO IT GIVES US A CAPACITY UP TO ALMOST 90 PATIENTS THAT WE COULD TAKE CARE OF SHOULD WE ACTUALLY GET TO THAT POINT. WHEN ASKED ABOUT THEIR PLANS TO EXPAND CAPACITY, MERCY OFFICIALS REFERRED LOCAL NEWS NETWORK'S QUESTIONS TO A CENTURA SYSTEM SPOKESMAN WHO DECLINED TO PROVIDE ANY DETAIL. ULTIMATELY, THE CAPACITY OF THE REGION'S HEALTH-CARE SYSTEM TO HANDLE A SURGE IN COVID-19 PATIENTS IS DEPENDENT ON EACH INDIVIDUAL'S COMPLIANCE WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING, WEARING MASKS TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS WHILE ON ESSENTIAL ERRANDS,  AND STAYING AT HOME. THE MORE EACH OF US DOES OUR PART, THE SAFER WE'LL ALL BE.
AGAIN, WHAT WE'VE SAID FROM THE BEGINNING: THAT'S THE ONLY WAY WE CAN KEEP THIS UNDER CONTROL AS KEEP PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, IN THE SOCIAL DISTANCE, THAT YOU KEEP PEOPLE AT HOME. AND, FORTUNATELY, I THINK IT IS WORKING. WE'RE PLANNING, YOU KNOW, AND WE'RE PLANNING FOR WORST-CASE SCENARIOS. THEN THE MODELS ARE PROBABLY RIGHT, WITH SOME, WITH SOME DEGREE OF PROBABILITY, THE MODELS ARE SAYING WE'RE NOT GOING TO HIT THESE WORST-CASE SCENARIOS, BUT IT'S ABSOLUTELY OUR JOBS AND OUR DUTY TO PREPARE FOR CROSSING THOSE THRESHOLDS. AND ALSO, REMIND EVERYBODY, EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO'S WATCHING THIS OR LISTENING TO THIS, THAT WE, EACH ONE OF US, EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL IN EVERY COMMUNITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IS THE ONLY PERSON THAT HAS THE POWER TO ENSURE THAT WE DON'T CROSS THOSE THRESHOLDS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19, VISIT S J B PUBLIC HEALTH DOT ORG FOR LA PLATA COUNTY OR S W HEALTH DOT ORG FOR MONTEZUMA COUNTY. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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