CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia state health officials are predicting the peak of COVID-19 cases will hit next week. In preparation for what could be a flood of patients entering hospitals, Thomas Health was asked by the state to prepare what’s being called a “surge hospital” to handle those additional people.
St. Francis Hospital is officially ready to take in coronavirus patients if and when the DHHR gives them the word. Today 13 News reporter Hannah Goetz got to take a tour of the first COVID-19 positive surge hospital in the state of West Virginia.
After temperatures were taken and masks handed out out the front door of the main lobby, Sister Barbara McCartney gave a Good Friday blessing over the new surge unit at St. Francis Hospital in downtown Charleston.
“We ask your blessing on all who have been affected by COVID-19,” McCartney prays.
Thomas Health chief quality officer, Brian Lilly, takes the media through the facility which was set up with the help of FEMA, the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and the State’s Department of Health and Human Resources.
“These are our former trauma rooms and we will just use them as holding areas,” Lilly explains each step of the patient process.
Once assessed in one of the twelve initial rooms the COVID-19 positive patient will then be taken upstairs to one of 36 beds where they will continue treatment.
“We have some that are single occupancy and some that are double…we can take acute patients we can take post-acute patients simply whatever the state would need for surge,” Lilly adds.
This unit will be staffed by 36 personnel already on stand-by.
“A lot of staff volunteered…these are part of the crew that made all this happen our staff has been absolutely phenomenal,” Lilly tells 13 News as we arrive on the floor.
The St. Francis surge unit was equipped, staffed and fully functional in just two weeks with 36 initial beds and another floor of 36 beds if necessary. Though the surge hospital is ready to accept patients at any moment they will only do so at the request of the DHHR.