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Hospital Board Briefed on COVID-19

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Hospital Board Briefed on COVID

In a brief Monday evening meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Seminole Memorial Hospital District received an update on the status of Seminole's caseload -- or thankfully a lack of it -- involving the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Hospital CEO Larry Gray told the board that after 13 tests have been administered, the number of confirmed infections in Seminole remains at two. Neither case has been life-threatening. Ten tests have been negative, while one remains pending.

Gray noted that statewide, it appears that confirmed cases of COVID-19 have begun to peak as Governor Abbott has begun to formulate a plan to scale back state-mandated restrictions. Gray said that clinical trials are ongoing with the much-touted Hydroxychloroquine, and Remdesivir, which has shown some promise in the past in cases of "compassionate use."

Gray also said that much of the medical community's focus has turned toward increasing testing for the presence of antibodies. Analysing those results may prove the presence of increased antigens that trigger an immune response and may lead to more effective therapies, even as the population gradually develops a type of herd immunity.

Chief Clinical Operating Officer Megan Garner told the board that morale among hospital staff remained generally high, despite the more restrictive and often changing regulatory environment. Garner said that there are 27 COVID-19 test kits remaining in hospital inventory, and that CDC guidelines continue to be followed as to who receives them.

Previously established guidelines regarding hospital visitors also remain in place. Garner pointed out that hospital patients are being asked to bring their own face masks, and expressed gratitude to the community for the masks that have been made and donated to the hospital.

Gray also reported progress on ongoing hospital construction projects. He reported that the facility's "C wing" is open, while demolition is underway at the B wing.The gift shop is scheduled to be back on line in May, and the cafeteria in August, Gray said.

Prior to the board retiring to executive session, Gray also reported on the hospital's ongoing Provider Recruitment plan, noting several potential prospects among doctors, nurse-practitioners, and other staff. Site visits for potential hires are anticipated soon.

To start the meeting, Board President Chad McGehee offered special recognition to the hospital staff and local governmental and health officials for their part in limiting problems related to COVID-19.

Jamie Therwanger, employed by the hospital since 2015, was recognized as "Employee of the Month."

Hospital CEO Larry Gray told the board that after 13 tests have been administered, the number of confirmed infections in Seminole remains at two. Neither cases have been life-threatening.