CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Area Medical Center CEO David Ramsey said Tuesday that the hospital system only has enough supplies to last another week, as healthcare workers across the country treat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Ramsey appeared on Tuesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ to discuss how the four hospitals in the system are handling the virus along with details on testing and supplies.
“We place orders to our traditional vendors that we use and then we’re told they are back-ordered for a period of time,” he said.
“In most cases, they are being redirected to other parts of the country. Certainly makes us a little nervous that we can’t get the supplies that we’ve ordered and had on-demand.”
Ramsey said at the four hospitals, there are currently around 150 patients fewer than normal in beds with many procedures being closed and the ER volume being low.
He said the volume declining across the board and they can take on many more patients but want to be careful with supplies.
During his press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jim Justice said some supplies needed across the state arrived Tuesday and are being shipped out to various health care providers, but there remains a great need.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said on Tuesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ that her office has been in contact with FEMA about supplying hospitals around the state with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) equipment. Her colleague Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has also pushed for medical supplies.
“FEMA is going to be the one to take from the national storehouse and bring to West Virginia,” Capito said.
“There was another shipment that was brought in overnight (Monday into Tuesday) and hopefully that will help not only CAMC but others with the PPE and testing issues.”
Among the supplies, CAMC is hoping to receive more of is protective masks and N95 masks. The hospital launched a mask-making program, calling all volunteers around the region that could sew masks.
CAMC said it will accept donations of clean and new 100% cotton fabric and elastic that can be used for ear loops.
“We hope that we don’t have to use these but because of the short supply throughout the country, we are trying to do everything that we can to be proactive, to be able to give at least what we can for our providers,” Kelly Anderson, a Register Nurse (RN) and Director of Volunteer Services at CAMC told MetroNews.
Anderson, who has been an RN at CAMC for over 30 years, said masks and other materials can be dropped off at six locations including the former CAMC Lighthouse Childcare & Development Center located on 3410 Virginia Ave, Charleston, WV 25304.
The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Other locations include:
- CAMC Teays Valley Human Resources – 1200 Hospital Drive – Putnam Medical Plaza, First Floor Lobby Hurricane, WV 25526
- Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist Church – 108 Oakwood Rd, Charleston, WV 25314
- Bible Center Church – 100 Bible Center Dr, Charleston, WV 25309
- Blessed Sacrament Church 305 E Street, South Charleston, WV 25303
- River Ridge Church Teays Valley – 1 Saturn Way, Hurricane, WV 25526
Even though CAMC suspended regular volunteer services inside the hospitals and offices, Anderson said they have still received a tremendous amount of support.
On Tuesday, West Virginia State University’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics donated more than 5,000 pairs of unused lab exam gloves to CAMC.
“It’s amazing to see the outpouring of support from all over,” she said.
“I do believe that when we are in the middle of a crisis, we see people’s heart and we see the goodness of people and their strong desire to help one another.”
Coronavirus testing at CAMC is taking place at two locations, at the Chesterfield Ave. location near Memorial Hospital and at the Teays Valley Hospital.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been six positive cases of COVID-19 tested at CAMC and 274 negative cases. 221 tests are currently pending.
Ramsey said he couldn’t be more proud of all the healthcare workers at CAMC and across the nation on the front lines.
“They are taking care of patients, they are taking care of each other, they are taking care of their families,” he said.
“They are concerned, they are worried, they are fearful about what it means for them and their families. It’s a real challenge not to have everything we need to protect everybody.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) March 24, 2020