CCMC Comanche County Medical Center



COVID-19 Updates

Apr 27, 2020 | Archived, Information | 0 comments

CCMC PLANNING AREA ANTIBODY TESTING

To Include COVID-19 Prevalence Study

(April 27, 2020)  Antibody testing and a prevalence study for COVID-19 are being planned for a mid to late May roll-out by Comanche County Medical Center (CCMC). Dr. L. G. “Larry” Troxell, CCMC Chief Executive Officer and John Boykin, CCMC Laboratory Director, are leading the effort. CCMC ordered a large shipment of the antibody test kits from a California manufacturer back in February, and the first shipment is expected to arrive this week. Necessary validation of a sampling of the kits will be undertaken in the CCMC Laboratory. Registration for the test will be done online and the testing will be conducted on the CCMC campus. Dr. Troxell is collaborating with Dr. Kit Simpson of Medical University of South Carolina to ensure the study uses a best practice sampling process.

The COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test which measures the presence of antibodies (proteins produced in the body by our white blood cells to fight infection). Antibodies can remain in the blood long after the infection clears. The test results can show whether a person was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. In addition, city and county data collected from the testing will be used in a research study to help show the prevalence of infection in the region.

In the coming days, CCMC will announce on its website and through social media the availability of a secure online portal and instructions for pre-registering for the test. Anyone in the CCMC five-county service area will be allowed to register for the antibody test, until the needed sample size is met. This includes residents who feel they had the disease and recovered, were tested for the flu, had symptoms of COVID-19 such as fatigue, fever, body chills, and shortness of breath (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html), or have no symptoms. Those registering who have health insurance will need to provide their plan information; their insurer will be billed by CCMC; all test takers will not have to pay a co-pay or other fee on the day they are tested.

It is hoped that the antibody testing data to be collected at CCMC, and across the nation, will also eventually show that those previously infected are likely immune so that they can get back to work and resume their lives. It should also help support the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

 

CCMC EMPLOYS BEST PRACTICES AT HEALTH SYSTEM SITES

INFECTION CONTROL AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS ARE WORKING

PATIENT VISITS STEADY

In a season of hope, Comanche County Medical Center leadership and staff are taking stock of the success of the organizations’ COVID-19 infection control and response plans and actions, and looking forward to returning to “new normal” operations in the coming weeks.

Since January, CCMC infection control and emergency response teams have worked thousands of hours to ensure the hospital, clinics, pharmacy, and all departments and affiliated sites have what they need to respond to the pandemic. Staff across the organization have worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state and local public health authorities, Comanche County Office of the Judge and Emergency Operations Management teams, to ensure an effective response and mitigation of virus spread.

Building on its standing emergency preparedness plan and on the strength of its management of operations and cross-functional teamwork, CCMC rapidly put into place specific COVID-19 infection prevention and safety protocols, and patient care processes. All nursing staff were provided new education and training on critical care protocols for PPE, EKG, IV, intubation and off-site nursing operations. CCMC established the COVID-19 Screening Hotline 254-879-4999 as a patient-centered call site through which area residents with coronavirus exposure concerns and/or non-emergency respiratory symptoms call and are initially triaged by telephone. The hotline receives nearly 50 calls per week; callers are triaged based on degree of illness, and given tele-support and specific guidance on what to do next. Medical providers and staff at Doctors Medical Center conduct follow-up virtual or face-to-face appointments to ensure every patient receives the care they need.

CCMC also implemented a telehealth program to provide patients with care and services. The program uses communication applications (“apps”) downloaded on a patient’s computer or mobile device. The apps, such as Skype, Facetime and Zoom, easily connect a patient with their provider. The service, which is expected to grow substantially in the coming months, increases patient access to needed care and supports them in managing their health.

Additionally important has been the vigilance of CCMC department managers who carefully monitor all resources needed for the pandemic response. Ongoing controls have included equipment and supplies usage monitoring, enhanced order purchasing, and ensuring all additional needed resources are in the supply pipeline.

Of great importance in the response process are the extreme cleaning, disinfecting and sterilization steps that are being taken, in the hospital wings, ER, Med-Surg, medical clinics, pharmacy, digital imaging and in every other department and affiliated site to protect patients and health workers from acquiring any infection. CCMC already had a best practice cleaning and maintenance system in place, safeguards against the coronavirus are at the highest level.

Dr. L. G. Troxell, CCMC Chief Executive Officer, sees the realization of CCMC’s vision statement, “We are working round the clock, providing caring, efficient and responsive service, and addressing the ever-changing health care needs of the people we serve. I couldn’t be more proud of our staff who are answering the call to serve across departments and across the system.”

With case counts remaining low in the County, and no COVID-19 patients in the CCMC hospital, Dr. Troxell and the entire CCMC staff are breathing a collective sigh of relief while acknowledging Texas and the nation are not yet over the hump of the flattening curve. They are looking forward to the promise of antibody testing, which the hospital plans to conduct, a vaccine, and a diminishment of community spread.

ALL RESIDENTS ASKED TO FOLLOW EMERGENCY PLAN

TO REDUCE EXPECTED COVID-19 CASES

As of March 16, 2020, there were no known positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Comanche County, Texas.

In order to be prepared for an increased number of cases in the region, CCMC, in conjunction with Comanche County, has prepared a plan to be followed by all residents. The plan takes effect when the first positive patient is reported. To help “flatten the curve” of coronavirus infection and provide needed care to the sick, the steps outlined as follows will help identify and isolate patients who are presumed positive or are confirmed cases of COVID-19.

ALL RESIDENTS are asked to follow these steps:

1. If a resident feels s/he or a loved one may be infected with COVID-19, s/he should call the designated hotline telephone number set up by CCMC to provide initial coronavirus infection screening by telephone.

2. The hotline number to call is: 254-879-4999.

3. Each resident calling will be asked travel, exposure and symptom questions, and then will be instructed on how to proceed.

4. Based on the results of the tele-screening, a resident may be instructed to drive to a triage site in Comanche (to be announced). At this site health care workers will further screen and assess the resident’s condition and determine the level of care or testing needed.

5. Some residents will be directed to return straight home, use self-care and prescribed therapies, and remain under quarantine.

6. Residents needing more emergent care will be instructed to go to the CCMC Emergency Room.

7. If a resident requires urgent care admission for presumed coronavirus infection, s/he will be transported to a designated facility exclusively provisioned for COVID-19 patients and staffed by health care workers. The building will be in Comanche, but final details are forthcoming.

Residents are encouraged to add the hotline number to their contacts, and let other residents know who may not be aware of the plan, hotline and CCMC’s procedures for screening.

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