By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Several COVID-19 cases has been confirmed at the Yukon hospital.
Patients who have tested positive have been isolated in a contained area at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, 1201 Health Center Parkway, said President Teresa Gray.
“Currently, we have three confirmed positive COVID patients at Integris Canadian Valley and many more pending lab results,” Gray said. “We have two in critical condition and one is stable.”
Due to privacy laws, she could not say how the patients contracted the virus.
Hospital staff are in close contact with Canadian County and state health officials as they prepare for more positive patient cases.
“We’re working with them to try and contain further transmissions,” Gray said.
Information about who’s been in contact with COVID-19 patients and where they’ve been is traced by the state health department, which makes official notifications.
The Yukon hospital is using additional personnel to care for these patients because they are isolated.
“They require a lot of extra work from a nursing perspective,” Gray said. “They need a high level of care, so we are using extra nursing staff. We have all hands-on deck.”
The COVID-19 patients and their caretakers are in a contained unit at the hospital.
“We don’t mix those patient populations and we don’t mix the staff,” Gray said. “We’re checking staff temperatures as they enter the building and as the exit the building. So we’re watching very carefully.”
Patient and caregiver safety are the top priority at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital as personnel follow best practices and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
The situation is changing “minute-by-minute,” the hospital’s chief administrator emphasized.
“We have the appropriate isolation for these patients,” Gray said. “And we’re using our protective equipment to ensure that we’re not putting anyone else at risk.
“We’ve been preparing over the last several weeks for that influx of patients. We’re following those processes right now.”
‘OUTSTANDING’ PUBLIC RESPONSE
Public response has been “outstanding” to a recent call for people to donate n95 masks and other personal protective equipment to Integris Canadian Valley.
“In addition, we’ve had a lot of our community partners bringing by food and coffee,” Gray said. “We have received a lot of support from the community – in many ways.
“That’s important to our team. Not only are they receiving support from the hospital, but the community is standing right beside them. … We have to take care of these caregivers who take care of these patients. They need our support, they need to hear from us and they need to know we’re behind them.”
Integris Canadian Valley personnel have been preparing to deal with this crisis, the hospital’s leader emphasized.
“This isn’t what we wanted or what we hoped for,” Gray said. “We are following all of the recommended guidelines and taking the best care possible of these patients.”
The public is urged to follow CDC’s advice to practice social distancing and proper handwashing so the virus can be contained.
“This isn’t to be taken lightly, and I can’t say that enough,” Gray said.