CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Doctors and nurses working at UC Medical Center and West Chester Hospital say they’ve had to make big changes for themselves and their patients because of the coronavirus pandemic.
They’re doing things differently like wearing personal protective equipment before they even enter the building.
Michele Hodge, Clinical Nurse Manager, at UCMC says the puts on goggles to protect her eyes then makes sure she’s wearing a face mask.
Once inside the hospital, staff members take temperature tests then talk about how much room they have for incoming patients.
“We have 63 beds to treat patients, and we currently have 57 patients. A portion of those are potential COVID patients,” Hodge said.
There are new rules and regulations in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Only one visitor per patient, chairs are spread out for social distancing, and patients are checked for the virus.
“Half the patients I am personally taking care of have COVID. Some of them need to be admitted. Some of them don’t, but it is really taxing us. I’ve got probably 15 - 20 people waiting in the waiting room that can’t even be seen right now because we’re so full,” one doctor said.
On any given day, Hodge says the emergency room can become overcrowded.
When that happens, they have to work together to create space.
“We have decided we are gonna go ahead and surge which means they’re gonna start becoming more aware on the floor of different things they can do and action items they can take to assist in either downgrading patients or discharging patients so that we can open up beds of some of these patients in the ED,” Hodge said.
Over in Butler County, doctors at West Chester Hospital are dealing with some of the same changes.
“We see about 30 to 40 percent of respiratory complaints right now, many of which are COVID positive,” Dr. Sanjay Shewakramani, ER doctor, West Chester Hospital, said.
They have tents in place in the ambulance bay for COVID-19 testing and patients who test positive are placed in a certain pod.
“When all this started, there was a lot of fear. I won’t lie about it, from all of us, physicians, nurses, techs, everyone working in the emergency department,” Dr. Shewakramani said.
Staff at both locations say it’s been overwhelming and exhausting at times, but they hope their work is making a difference.