No strain on United Regional capacity as 6 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, CEO says

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The six hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Wichita County are being cared for at United Regional hospital, and officials said they’re in good shape as far as capacity and supplies go.

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike, United Regional wants the communities’ help to avoid problems in the future.

Plenty of beds, about 30 ventilators not in use and more PPE than in mid-March is how URHCS CEO and President Phyllis Cowling describe the current state of the hospital.

“It does not strain our capacity, it is up obviously from where it has been, I think it’s probably been now about two months, maybe even more since we’ve had a hospitalized positive patient,” Cowling said.

Cowling said if they were to be overrun in a sense, they would work with beds throughout the region at smaller community hospitals.

One small concern Cowling has now is the fact that 20 staff members are out after being exposed to someone with the virus.

“They were exposed in the community, not here at the hospital, in the community and 20 employees we can manage, if that number gets up to 200 we’re in a little bit different situation,” Cowling said.

Therefore, URHCS is encouraging everyone practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash hands often.

“We were doing it very well for a while and then I think we along with everybody else in the country may have gotten a little lax in that,” Cowling said.

On top of asking residents to follow health guidelines, hospital officials want people to seek care more than they did at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I think people delayed care, maybe they were fearful of coming to the hospital or maybe they were just trying to shelter-in-place but in some cases that delay in care resulted in worsened issues,” Cowling said.

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health District emphasizing to not head to the emergency department seeking a COVID-19 test.

“Emergency departments are places where people need to go for immediate care to be taken care of by that staff,” Wichita Falls-Wichita County Assistant Health Director Amy Fagan said.

As COVID-19 cases spike, United Regional said it has the capacity to keep up.

Officials said there’s not a need to stop elective surgeries here, but they are tapping the breaks a little.

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