Yukon hospital staff strong, optimistic

PPE, masks still needed to combat COVID-19

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Registered nurse Mary Lou White wears personal protective equipment (PPE) in the COVID-19 Unit at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, 1201 Health Center Parkway. (Photo provided)

By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

Yukon hospital caregivers serve patients to ensure health and safety during the COVID-19 crisis: From left, respiratory therapist Tanya Neff, respiratory therapist Caitlin Coppock and registered nurse Kasey Frazier. (Photo provided)

With several COVID-19 patients isolated inside the Yukon hospital, Integris Canadian Valley staff remains vigilant during this global health crisis.

Staff members are “strong and optimistic” as they ensure patient health and safety, according to hospital president Teresa Gray.

Gray referred to “heart-warming” and “uplifting” testimonials that her personnel wrote for the State Chamber.

“They’re not in fear of catching the virus,” Canadian Valley’s chief said. “They believe this is what they’re called to do, and they don’t see themselves as heroes.

“We check on them frequently to make sure their needs are being met and they’re being taken care of so when they go home, they can focus on themselves and their families.”

Integris Canadian Valley on Thursday had three confirmed COVID-19 patients, one in serious condition and two in stable condition.

Registered nurse Amber Smith works in Canadian Valley’s COVID-19 unit. (Photo provided)

“We do have patients who tested positive on our COVID unit,” Gray said. “We also have patients on our COVID unit who are pending test results (from the state health department).

“We are optimistic.”

Several patients who previously tested positive for the virus have been released back home or transferred to other medical facilities.

Patients who come through the Yukon hospital’s emergency department are being tested for COVID-19 based on their symptoms. Some people are cleared to go home and self-quarantine while others have been admitted.

The hospital still needs personal protective equipment including N95 face masks. All donations are welcome.

“The masks are huge right now,” Gray said. “We’re giving those to all patients who enter the door so they’re wearing a mask while they’re in the building.”

Hospital staff members are “burning” through PPE, she noted.

Dr. Elise Kuykendall, D.O., wears her N95 mask while seeing patients at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, 1201 Health Center Parkway in Yukon. (Photo provided)

“Each time we enter and exit those COVID rooms, we’re having to don and doff PPE,” Gray said. “Right now, there still is a nationwide concern for PPE, and we are trying to be very efficient with our use. We are trying to get reserves and be cautious about what we have our stock.”

Integris officials shared their appreciation for the public’s support during the pandemic, which has uplifted the hospital’s staff during these trying times.

“We’ve had so many of our community partners, the vo-tech, schools, and businesses reach out and offer help by making PPE and food donations,” Canadian Valley’s president said. “We’ve had local churches bringing donuts every Sunday.

“A lot of our community partners have reached out.”