PCH Preps For Worse as Pandemic Continues
With the report of the first positive case of COVID-19 among Clay County residents, Piggott Community Hospital continues to prepare for a worst-case-scenario and work with other regional healthcare providers. Tuesday morning PCH administrator James Magee, and Dr. J.T. Dewitt, chief medical officer for the hospital, provided an update.
Magee noted the hospital has conducted over 125 tests for the coronavirus, with two of those positive. Both were residents of Dunklin County, and had been sent home to self-quarantine prior to the return of the results. He noted the lone Clay County case, which was verified late Monday afternoon, was not tested at the local hospital. According to information from the ADH, the person has a Rector address, but no other details were made available.
“As of today we have not admitted anyone with COVID-19 to our hospital, and don't have anyone with the coronavirus in the facility,” Magee offered. “The only ones who tested positive had already been sent home to Dunklin County by the time the results were returned.”
But, state officials have warned the local hospital to be prepared.
“We're looking at the ADH guidelines and projections and are expecting a push around April 24 and 25, when the number of cases are expected to peak here in Arkansas,” Dr. DeWitt explained. “And, they're expecting the peak in deaths from the virus to follow around three or four days later.”
And, although there hasn't been a great impact in the area so far, the local hospital is preparing.
“We're have plans for expanding our capabilities. Currently we have our usual 25 beds, and we have plans in place to expand to 55 beds by utilizing a location off-site,” Magee explained. “We'll be using our IOP building behind the hospital, and if it were needed we could utilize the community center.”
He also noted PCH has been in constant contact with the other regional hospitals, as the facilities work together on a plan of action. “We've been in contact with St. Bernards, NEA, Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, Paragould, Forest City, West Memphis, Wynne, Blytheville and Osceola,” he added. “All of the CEOs are meeting by conference call and working together.”
In response to the outbreak, a COVID-19 clinic is being conducted at the Rector Family Care Clinic each weekday.
“We're holding the clinic from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it's separate from the regular patient care,” Magee offered. “There is a separate door and separate staff for safety. Those with symptoms can stop by and be tested.”
It was noted that appointments are recommended, but not required as walk-ins are welcome. Those wanting additional information on the clinic in Rector may call 870 595-3596. Information about patients, and services at PCH, may be obtained by calling 870 598-3881.
“This is a difficult time, and Dr. DeWitt and myself are very concerned about not only our patients, but the health and safety of our staff,” Magee added.