Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - As more positive cases of COVID-19 cases are confirmed in Alaska and the lower 48, Bartlett Regional Hospital is expanding its capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients.
Bartlett Regional Hospital currently has 10 ventilators and access to at least three more, as well as other equipment that can be used to support patients’ respiratory status.
“We can use other equipment with ventilation abilities,” said Chief Nursing Officer Rose Lawhorne. “We have 8 oxygen concentrators that take the regular air and concentrate the O2. They can be used as an oxygen source.”
A negative pressure wing has been set up in the Medical-Surgical department and two anterooms have been created in the Emergency Department. An anteroom appears like a tarp tent with a zipper door, attached outside the door of the patient room. It is where health care providers remove and dispose of their personal protective equipment (gown, gloves, goggles/face shield, mask/respirator) after treating a patient. The system is a safety measure to prevent any possible spread of the virus in the hospital.
Depending on the severity of the outbreak, more portions of the hospital could be pressed into service while still balancing the remaining healthcare needs of the community.
The City and Borough of Juneau also has access to a portable, emergency hospital that can be set up in the field for additional coverage. The portable hospital creates another 16 isolation beds, with additional capacity to run oxygen to another 44 beds outside the tent.
“Identifying a specific maximum number of patients BRH can care for is difficult,” notes Lawhorne. “The emergency operations plan offers direction for increasing the number of isolation beds through various strategies that we may not use under normal circumstances.”