Clarification on the alternate care site request process

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Confusion arose in dueling news conferences on Tuesday. At one Steve Edwards, president of CoxHealth said the state declined a request for an alternate care site. In another news conference, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department quickly clarified that wasn’t true.

“I believe that was a little bit of the confusion earlier – we submitted it at the end of last week, there were some questions from the state and we talked to them on Monday morning and they asked us to resubmit with some clarifying info so we did that.”

Katie Towns, Acting Director for the Health Department

The director of the Greene County Emergency Management (OEM) Larry Woods spoke with Ozarks First and said the original request only included resources for a step-down unit and the alternate care request was made last night. The step-down unit would be located inside the hospitals. OEM called this an alternate care unit.

“The whole effort is to continue to provide the excellent healthcare we are known for providing here and also in an effort to decompress the hospitals as much as possible so they can continue to take on additional cases,” said Woods.

Additional staff and supplies were requested as well.

“It would be space within the confines of the hospitals themselves,” Woods said. “It would be another hospital room or another space that was developed into a hospital room. Then we would just be bringing in outside personnel to staff that space.”

The city specifically asked for:

  • 2 Registered Nurses (RNs) per shift
  • 2-4 Patient Care Assistants (PCAs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Medical Technicians
  • 1 Respiratory Therapist (RT) PER SHIFT
  • Sufficient number of hospital beds
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) kit capabilities
  • Oxygen capability to support therapeutic oxygen needs
  • Support for wrap-around services (i.e. meals, drinking water, ice, medical resupply, waste removal, bio-hazard waste, cleaning services, laundry, etc.)
  • Additional personnel, services, supplies, and equipment not listed in detail here may be required for final mission success.

“Going forward if the cases continue to come in at the rate that they are it would be a good idea for us to have an alternate care site,” said Woods.

The initial request also suggested two stand-alone Alternate Care sites should it be requested in the future. The two sites were Kentwood Hall at Missouri State University or Q Hotel and Suites.

“We are trying to write down in a form what we are needing or what we are thinking we’re needing,” said Woods. “There is usually a series of phone calls that go back and forth saying ‘ Did you mean this? No, we actually need this.'”

OEM submitted another request to the state five days after the initial one. A stand-alone alternate care site was requested in addition to the step-down unit at the hospitals.

The request said “sufficient personnel, resources, supplies, and equipment (including PPE) to establish a 50-bed (with expansion capacity), stand-alone alternate care site for COVID positive patients.

It also said care should be consistent with patients with significant oxygen requirements, IV medications, acute respiratory care, etc. Q Hotel and Suites is a vacant hotel, which the request said could be occupied immediately. Kentwood Hall is a residence hall with 73 rooms with 101 beds. Each room has a private bath with a tub/shower or walk-in shower and beds.

“Every day we are talking with the Health Department,” said Woods. “Every day we are talking with the hospitals to see what the case counts are and what their needs are.”

Health leaders wanted the alternative care site to provide a community location to provide Monoclonal antibodies to get patients early. Jordan Valley Community Health Center will be helping with antibodies. Edwards says this will help free up bed space in both hospitals.

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