WellStar West Georgia Medical Center operating under standard procedure

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, March 26, 2020

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As of Tuesday evening, there were no patients at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center that had tested positive for COVID-19, according to WGMC President Coleman Foss.

Six of the seven patients the hospital had treated for COVID-19 had been released and were at home, where nurses were following the hospital’s standard guidelines of following up daily. The seventh patient had been transferred to WellStar Kennestone.

Foss said at the time the hospital had 13 patients under investigation or PUIs, meaning patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19. Those patients could have a high fever, severe cough or breathing problems. However, that number is in constant flux.

Patients confirmed with COVID-19 are being treated in the intensive care unit.

Foss said the hospital had adequate space available with 276 beds as it continues to deal with COVID-19 patients.

“The hospital is operating under our standard procedure,” Foss said. “One change is we’ve postponed all non-essential surgeries until the coronavirus threat subsides. Our emergency department is operational as normal for any emergency. So, the only difference is that elective surgeries are being postponed right now.”

COVID-19 patients are being treated in the intensive care unit.

“We are trying to limit patients in keeping them contained in certain floors and areas of the hospital … and then treating active cases in the ICU,” Foss said.

Doctors and nurses are using personal protective equipment — masks, gloves, gowns — to protect themselves from being exposed to COVID-19.

Foss said the hospital orders N95 masks ahead of the flu season each year, so it currently has a good number on hand. West Georgia Medical Center could also pull supplies from other WellStar hospitals if there became a need.

Foss said he was extremely proud of all of the work the hospital has done to meet the needs of the community.

“Thank you to our providers and all of our team members, especially those on the front line because they have been put into this role, and they have done everything they can to respond to our community’s need,” Foss said. “I take pride in the fact that they are delivering the highest levels of care, working beyond standard regular schedules. Everyone is stepping in, even crossing over into different roles when asked to, becoming cross-trained in areas that not worked in before, to ensure that all of our patient needs are met, to whatever extent, it requires us to give care.”

WellStar has launched an online screening tool that allows anyone to take a quick assessment to determine if they have symptoms of COVID-19. The tool is available at wellstar.org and does not require any private information and allows users to get quick feedback on the severity of their symptoms.