PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center prepares for COVID-19
FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash., March 20, 2020–While no positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in San Juan County to date, (Correction: Since receiving this 1 resident of Orcas has tested positive with COVID-19), officials leading response efforts expect to see this change as these numbers increase across western Washington. Leaders with PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center have been planning for the potential increase in positive cases and developing health care strategies in preparation of meeting the unique needs of island communities. These efforts have been coordinated with San Juan Island EMS, San Juan County and other community partners.
Merry-Ann Keane, chief administrative officer with PeaceHealth Peace Island, has been anticipating those needs and the associated challenges resulting from increased patient volumes that may occur with positive cases of COVID-19. While working to ensure the continued safety of patients, caregivers and visitors coming into and leaving the medical center, she said, “It isn’t ‘business as usual.’ The safety and well-being of our community is always a priority, but it is of paramount importance at a time like this. We are implementing processes and making daily changes to prepare to meet community needs when they occur.”
PeaceHealth Peace Island – like other health care organizations across the nation – is actively planning for an increase in positive cases of COVID-19 which will likely bring greater need for providing acute care in the medical center’s 10-bed inpatient unit. To meet this, the medical center and medical group clinics have taken steps to ensure their preparedness by implementing visitor restrictions that limit non-essential individuals to reduce the risk of transmission; conducting supply inventories and conservation plans for personal protective equipment to meet ongoing demands; canceling or postponing elective surgeries to conserve hospital resources; postponing outpatient services to promote social distancing and open appointments for high-risk individuals experiencing symptoms; and establishing plans for communitywide responses including support from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center to meet the need for supplies, higher acuity care and surges in patient volumes.
“The COVID-19 situation changes quickly, often by the hour, and we will continue to swiftly make changes and adapt as needed,” Keane said. “We want to assure the community that our medical center and medical clinics remain open for care. Anything that must be implemented to ready the medical center and its 100 staff members to care for patients is being addressed.”
For important resources and information, please visit PeaceHealth’s Know Coronavirus at peacehealth.org/coronavirusand the San Juan County COVID-19 page at www.sanjuanco.com.