The Shelbyville Daily Union asked HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital about its preparations to handle COVID-19.

“HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital is monitoring all developments associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Shelbyville community,” the hospital said in response to e-mailed questions. “They are continuously evaluating how to best align staff and supply resources with the evolving patient demand.

“They are assessing the situation at all of the HSHS sites in the local community to ensure patient needs are met across the collective service areas, and are closely coordinating with public health officials.”

HSHS has changed how it addresses elective care in response to COVID-19.

“Given their commitment to patient and employee safety, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital is currently deferring elective care and procedures, which has enabled them to redeploy staff and resources to the Shelbyville area’s COVID-19 response.”

Besides the screening process and triage, what changes has the hospital made to accommodate possible COVID-19 patients?

“Good Shepherd started a screening process for evaluating all persons entering their ministry through the triage tent,” HSHS answered. “They have also prepared by making plans to add inpatient beds, evaluating PPE supplies daily, holding 1:1 education with colleagues and departments on COVID-19, and meeting daily with local leaders.”

When a patient calls with symptoms, are they asked to come into the doctor’s office or the hospital? If a patient has flu-like symptoms, what triggers a COVID-19 test? Does the patient go home and wait for results or are some patients admitted to HSHS Good Shepherd and treated for flu symptoms in the meantime? If a person is a confirmed case of COVID-19 do they automatically go to HSHS St. Anthony in Effingham to the regional respiratory center?

“When a call comes into the hospital regarding possible COVID-19 symptoms, a thorough phone screening occurs to determine the level of severity of symptoms and to route the patient to the best locations for their symptoms. They are working closely with local providers to ensure patients are triaged to the best location based on the need of the patient.”

Does Good Shepherd just treat the symptoms of coronavirus, like dehydration or pneumonia? Does it have hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine and azithromycin; or lopinavir and ritonavir, and interferon-beta on hand to use as a treatment? What different treatments do the regional respiratory centers give patients with more severe cases?

“Please realize that as this COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the hospital will likely be working with additional resources from state and federal government that could expand the amount of care that they can provide. The local healthcare providers are prepared to respond to any and all developments related to COVID-19, as well as any other infectious disease outbreak.”

How many patients can HSHS Good Shepherd house? How many regular patients and coronavirus patients can HSHS Good Shepherd effectively treat? How many patients is HSHS Good Shepherd normally prepared to treat?

The hospital did not specifically respond to those questions. According to the American Hospital Directory, as of 12/16/2019, HSHS Good Shepherd is “a Short Term Acute Care Facility,” “Voluntary Non-profit,” “Total staffed beds, 30.”

According to its website, “Good Shepherd Hospital is a 30-bed hospital that provides emergency care, laboratory and imaging services in the the Shelbyville community 24/7. The hospital features an advanced surgery department, inpatient care, rehabilitative therapy and a wide variety of outpatient services.”

If COVID-19 cases start to appear and the ability of Good Shepherd to effectively treat patients is strained, what is the next step? Where will patients be sent?

“HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital is a part of a larger organization, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), which includes 15 hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin and nearly 200 specialty care clinics through three physician groups: HSHS Medical Group, Prairie Heart Institute and Prevea Health. HSHS is also looking at how as a health system they can best allocate staff and resources based on how this pandemic advances across the communities they serve.”

In addition to answering these questions, HSHS Good Shepherd requested the public’s help.

Currently, the community can support HSHS Good Shepherd by using social distancing and following the shelter in orders from the governor. They are also accepting donations of specific items. The list can be found on the Good Shepherd Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HSHSGoodShepherd/.”

HSHS also referred readers to the Centers for Disease Control and IDPH websites.

”Please refer to www.cdc.gov for recommendations as it is a great source of information and HSHS follows their guidelines.

You may also refer to the Illinois Department of Public Health website for information on current cases throughout the state at www.dph.illinois.gov/.”

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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