Hospitals already have to take extra steps to make sure patients are cared for and staff remain safe during natural disasters. But with a pandemic in full swing, hospitals in vulnerable areas have even more to consider when confronting this year’s hurricane season.
Ryan Miller is COO of CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System, which runs St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont. He told Texas Standard that the hospital has had several months to hone its response to COVID-19, and that lead time was helpful once hurricane season hit. He said it would have been much harder had both emergencies come at once.
“If we had encountered coronavirus at the very beginning of the storm season, it would have been a different ballgame,” Miller said.
He said his hospital system has spent the past four or five months putting coronavirus protocols in place.
And because Hurricane Laura largely missed Beaumont, St. Elizabeth Hospital did not see nearly as many patients as it had planned for, Miller said.
“We have dodged a bullet, and while we were prepared for whatever might come through the doors, it’s been relatively quiet compared to what it could have been,” he said.
What you’ II hear in this segment:
– How St. Elizabeth Hospital is utilizing space and staff differently to keep patients spaced apart during the pandemic
– Whether St. Elizabeth Hospital is able to transfer patients to other hospitals, if needed, during a hurricane
– Whether St. Elizabeth Hospital will need stricter coronavirus protocols for patients returning from evacuation in other areas