Mercy Medical Center makes deal with Roseburg VA amid COVID-19 surge

Right now, the hospital is treating 13 patients for COVID-19 and chief medical officer Jason Gray told KEZI 9 News that more people are getting admitted every day.

Posted: Nov 30, 2020 6:17 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Despite a spike in COVID-19 cases in Douglas County, staff at Mercy Medical Center said they are ready for anything.

Right now, the hospital is treating 13 patients for COVID-19, and chief medical officer Jason Gray told KEZI 9 News that more people are getting admitted every day.

“Typically, we were running one or two COVID patients a day over the summer,” he said. “More recently, we’re seeing 10 to 17 patients a day.”

However, Gray said Mercy has had a plan in place since the beginning of the pandemic.

The first part of the plan was opening a COVID-19 unit, where six patients are staying right now. He said the COVID-19 unit is already fully loaded with specific equipment to help the patients.

“That area has a dedicated air flow where it has negative airflow to the rest of the hospital,” said Gray.

The second part of the plan includes Mercy’s partnership with the Roseburg VA, which started about two weeks ago. It allows the Roseburg VA to take in patients from Mercy while they focus on COVID-19.

“Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been exploring the logistics,” he said. “The best made plans still have to be adapted to the agenda -- how do we get them over there, medications, communications with physicians.”

However, executive assistant Shawn Tyson said they are only able to take in low-risk patients because they do not have an intensive care unit.

“We call them walkie talkies,” said Tyson. “Those who are in the recovery stage, those who still need medical care, but not severe or significant.”

Tyson said the Roseburg VA has taken in three of Mercy’s patients, two of which have already been discharged.

He said they’re glad they’re able to take some of the burden off of Mercy for the time being.

“Some of this is assisted with the fact that we send Mercy patients all of the time,” said Tyson. “They provide a higher level of care.”

The agreement is expected to last until March.

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