Local hospitals take steps to prepare for a surge in cases of COVID-19

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Stateline-area medical professionals say that even though there isn’t a high volume of COVID-19 patients in our area currently, it’s important to be ready in case of a sudden increase.

Dr. James Cole, Trauma Medical Director, SwedishAmerican, said, “We want to know that we can get this right, and the way to do that is practice it when we aren’t actually overwhelmed with patients.”

SwedishAmerican Hospital held a drill Thursday to give employees an opportunity to practice their triage skills.

Sue Thompson, Director of Emergency Services, said, “I think it’s important for them to experience what it actually would be like in a surge situation.”

SwedishAmerican Trauma Medical Director Dr. James Cole says that, ideally, triage procedures would prevent positive patients who came to the hospital from further spreading the virus.

“What we’re doing is categorizing patients initially into non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 categories,” Cole said. “The initial goal is to segregate those categories and not cross-contaminate the two groups.”

FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport is currently caring for one patient who tested positive for COVID-19.


FHN President Mark Gridley tells me that they are expecting that number to rise, especially as testing becomes more widely available.

“So, the number of tests we’re doing, I think, doesn’t reflect the number of positives (cases) we have,

and certainly, we’re going to see that grow as we watch the trends across the country and how it’s starting to accelerate,” said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley.

Gridley says the hospital has ordered a mobile tent to setup in their parking lot if they need to and could increase the number of beds in the hospital from 100 to 150.

“We’ve also identified some of our medical clinics that are off-campus that we could convert to additional beds if we had additional patients that we needed to move there,” Gridley said.

Gridley says that, amidst global concerns of a shortage of personal protective equipment, the hospital is comfortable with the supplies it has right now but is still looking for donations.

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