‘Stay at Home’ initiative, virtual screenings helping OSF Healthcare hospitals be prepared for COVID-19 outbreak

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — OSF Healthcare doctors are actually seeing a smaller number of patients amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials say the ‘Stay at Home’ method is working so hospitals don’t get overloaded with patients.

Hospitals around the country are adapting as the Novel Coronavirus adds new challenges for doctors to treat.

OSF Healthcare has had Disaster Preparedness plans in place in case of a Pandemic like the COVID-19 outbreak.

These plans are to ensure that no matter what challenges present themselves, doctors are still able to care for their patients.

Troy Erbentraut, Director of Preparedness Response at OSF Healthcare says other Pandemics have helped OSF Healthcare be more prepared to respond to COVID-19.

“We didn’t start this today, or the beginning of March, or in December when COVID first came. Preparedness is something our healthcare system has been doing for years. We had pandemic plans, we have surge plans, we have things. None of this is created new or has been created today. It’s just something that’s been revamped because every disaster is a little bit different. We have a shell of that plan, then we manipulate the inside of it, make sure it meets the needs. Maybe it’s a tent going in a parking lot, maybe increasing capacity in some other way. Either way, OSF is going to stand strong and we’re going to provide care for our patients in the best environment that we can provide for them,” Erbentraut said.

Erbentraut says everyday him and his staff are paying attention to how the virus is spreading around the world, in the U.S., and here in central Illinois. He says by staying informed and paying attention to CDC and Health Department guidelines, they can better adapt to the ever-changing outbreak.

“There’s three things we need. Space, staff, and stuff. We have hospitals, we are looking at what supplies we’ll need, doing projections of what that means including PPE (Personal Protective Equipment, actual beds and stretchers, ventilators. Then there’s staff. There’s only so many medically trained professionals across the globe, in Illinois, or in OSF. Where we can better position those people, where our force multipliers are at, where our limits are at. We’re doing that on a daily basis,” Erbentraut said.

The inpatient census at OSF St. Francis in Peoria is around 100 less people than it has been in recent months.

Erbentraut says this is because of the ‘Stay at Home’ initiative. He adds by patients using digital tools from home for screening, like OSF’s ‘Clare’ tool also helps.

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