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COVID Wing at McDonough District Hospital

Rich Egger
MDH set up two tents outside its emergency room. One is for screening employees, visitors, and patients who do not have respiratory problems. The other is for people complaining of respiratory problems.

Dr. Ed Card, Chief Medical Officer at McDonough District Hospital, told the McDonough County Board this week that the hospital has set up a wing for patients infected with COVID-19.

Card said one section of the wing has ten beds, three of which can accommodate ventilators. It has a vestibule at the entry to help prevent spread of the virus.

Another section has twelve critical care beds.

“All of which can support ventilators and all of which are now fully stocked and ready to accept patients if needed,” he said. “They will be used if we get more than two or three patients who have COVID.  We can then move them down to that end of the hall, isolate them, (and) use that as a critical care area.”

He said that will allow MDH to continue using the current intensive care unit for patients not infected with coronavirus.

Card said other parts of the hospital are also being repurposed. For example, the ambulance garage has been set up with ten beds for emergency room overflow and for respiratory care if needed.

Card said MDH has 12 ventilators in-house and has asked the state for 11 more.

Card also said MDH created a panel consisting of three physicians who will decide which elective surgeries should be done now and which can be deferred until after the pandemic.

Later in the meeting, County Board Chairperson Scott Schwerer praised the work being done by County Health Department Administrator Lynette Cale and County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Director Edgar Rodriguez.

“They are practically working around the clock. They’ve set up an excellent command center. I’ve been there every morning for a briefing,” said Schwerer, who added all entities in the county are pulling in the same direction.

“It has been such a cooperative effort between WIU, the police, the fire (departments), the sheriff’s department. Everybody is working wonderfully together. They have planned for this and they have worked very hard.”

This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.