As flu season nears health officials revisit plans for possible case spikes

Health Collaborative revisits surge plans ahead of flu season

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and flu season nearing, the Health Collaborative met to talk about its surge preparedness plans.

The Health Collaborative works with more than 250 medical centers in the Tri-state like Atrium, for example, to make sure they can handle those possible spikes in occupied hospital beds.

Since the start of the pandemic, available beds have become one of the most important assets for hospitals to have available.

“I’d say the next two weeks are super crucial just because if you look at where the numbers are now we’ve exceeded our high points from last July,” said Christa Hyson with the Health Collaborative.

Hyson said the numbers she is referring to are hospital bed occupancy numbers.

With flu season looming the collaborative felt it was important to revisit their surge preparedness plans.

“The importance of surge planning within a hospital is to make sure if you need a bed you have a bed,” explained Hyson. “We make sure that we’re all working together and using the systems and communication to make sure that we have the tools necessary to take care of patients within our region.”

The Health Collaborative talks weekly with state officials about what the pandemic picture looks like in southwest Ohio, but the plans they went over Tuesday go beyond COVID-19.

“If something were to happen like a mass casualty incident or a pandemic, we make sure we have the ability to expand our bed capacity if needed,” she said.

The CDC estimates between 410,000 and 740,000 people were hospitalized with influenza during last year’s flu season.

Those numbers in 2020, coupled with COVID-19 hospitalizations, make these plans even more important moving forward.

The details of a surge plan are not released to the public because those surge plans also cover things like a terrorist attack. In those instances, they don’t want it to be common knowledge where patients are receiving treatment.

These are the people though who help decide whether or not beds need to be set up at the Duke Energy Center.

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