As of 1:15pm on Saturday, April 11th the Loup Basin Public Health Department reported a total of 13 positive coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) cases in Custer County. As we learn of these additional COVID-19 cases in our area, we at Callaway District Hospital want the public to be aware of the actions we are taking to prepare and respond to the spread of COVID-19.
Over the last two years, we have been developing our pandemic response plan. Beginning in early March, we implemented our established Emergency Operations Plan in response to the World Health Organization’s classification of the worldwide spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic. At that time, we began to refine our plans based on recommendations from state and local health officials, including the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Loup Basin Public Health Department, in addition to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These preparations included topics such as:
- Creating protocols for patients with suspected COVID-19 arriving to the hospital and clinic unannounced (such as to the Emergency Room);
- Conducting telephone screenings with all patients to assess COVID-19 risk prior to office visits;
- Identifying areas within our facility that would be used to isolate potential COVID-19 patients;
- Implementing facility lockdown procedures, including symptom/travel screening for all individuals entering the hospital and clinic;
- Limiting non-essential office visits and procedures;
- Placing restrictions on employee travel;
- Identifying locations throughout the community for drive-through COVID-19 testing;
- Coordinating with Custer County Emergency Management to develop protocols for local ambulance services;
- Accessing national stockpiles of Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) such as gowns, gloves, masks, and face shields;
- Reviewing state and local recommendations for social distancing and sharing that information publically;
- Reviewing existing transfer arrangements with tertiary hospitals in Kearney and North Platte; and
- Participating in State-wide conference calls with representatives from local health departments throughout Nebraska, Nebraska DHHS, and other health systems to share best practices and updated guidance in response to the community spread of COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to change and develop across the nation, we are continuing to monitor and implement recommendations from state and local sources and continue to adapt our processes to adhere to these recommendations.
As our community continues to navigate these unprecedented and challenging times together, we at Callaway District Hospital continue to be guided by our mission to protect and promote the health of the people in our communities while extending respect and compassion to each individual we serve.