‘Surge preparation’ underway on Miles Campus

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 8:15pm

From Thursday, March 26, medical staff from St. Andrews Urgent Care will begin caring for patients on the Miles Campus in Damariscotta.

John Martins, director of Communications and Public Affairs at LincolnHealth, explained. “The decision was made based on projected needs due to COVID-19 and our ability to provide coverage for other types of emergent care. It also assists in our surge preparation. There is still care available on the St. Andrews Campus and for the same hours. We just ask that patients call the Family Care Center (633-7820) before coming in.”

At Miles, the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) has been discussing surge preparation daily. “Miles is a 25-bed critical-access hospital but we have access to additional beds through our relationship with MaineHealth, and we’ve identified space within the hospital that is not being used and can be converted for a possible influx of patients,” said Martins. “We’re also checking in at least three times a day and connecting with MaineHealth’s Logistic Team to coordinate the accessing of equipment and supplies. Thus far we’re doing well in this area and MaineHealth provides us with additional support in this.”

The numbers of people affected are changing every day, said Martins. But to avoid overloading the hospital, the general public is being asked to behave responsibly and to follow Maine CDC guidelines.

As of Monday, Martins said Miles had four people in the ICU, six on the Medical/Surgical Unit and one on obstetrics. There is also one patient awaiting placement in a skilled nursing facility. This is called swing status.

Martins explained, “If you have any symptoms you should continue to wash your hands and practice social distancing. The principal symptoms to watch for are shortness of breath, a persistent cough, and a fever of more than 100.4°. If your symptoms persist or worsen you should contact your primary care doctor. We are asking that everyone go through their primary care doctor so that time and space are kept free at the hospital for the critically ill.”

If your doctor thinks you should be tested, said Martins, you will receive instructions on when and where to go for the test. No one will be tested without a Physician’s Order. Patients are given instructions in what to do while they are waiting for their test results. 

For those who are acutely ill with COVID-19 symptoms and require hospitalization, or health care workers/first responders who have symptoms and are essential to return to work, the turnaround from test to result can be as quick as eight to 12 hours, said Martins.

If a patient does test positive it will be up to them to get the word out to anyone with whom they have had contact. “Patient confidentiality is paramount,” said Martins.

“Following the CDC guidelines is important,” he continued. “It will help us to maintain the flow through the hospital.”