By Erik Thorsen, CEO
The COVID-19 pandemic produced a year that no one anticipated. Despite the unprecedented circumstances, I’m proud to say CMH and its caregivers have risen to the occasion. We have been blessed to weather the storms so far and are well-prepared to serve our community should any future COVID-19 surge occur on the coast.
On March 1, our Emergency Operations Center opened, and our Incident Command team has been meeting multiple times each week since then. We have adopted many new policies, including requiring masks, social distancing and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during direct patient care. Visitors are limited, and employees are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms.
Since July, we’ve acquired over $1 million in additional equipment and PPE. Equipment includes more than seven ventilators, seven negative air pressure machines, three BiPaP devices, brand-new powered air purifying respirator systems, and two Ortho chemistry analyzers that allow us to run COVID-19 tests in-house. We have increased supplies of various kinds of masks, including N95 masks, exam gloves, gowns, sanitation wipes and protective eyewear.
In September, CMH gained the ability to perform point-of-care rapid COVID-19 testing with the Abbott IDNow devices in our three urgent care clinics and main lab. Now we can achieve same-day test results and send fewer tests to outside laboratories for processing.
The same month, many Oregonians suffered devastating losses when the historic wildfire season began. At CMH, we were compelled to help. We made a $10,000 donation to the OREF Health Care Heroes Relief Fund to help health care workers who were displaced by the fires or other, future disasters.
Flu shots became available at the end of September, and it’s been important to help our community get vaccinated to avoid many flue and COVID-19 cases this fall and winter.
Please know we are thinking of all of you during these heavy times. The health and safety of our community and caregivers is of the utmost importance. Take care of each other. We’ll be here when you need us.
We are always working to serve you better. Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information at columbiamemorial.org/covid-19-updates.
Media Contact: Nancee Long, 503-338-4504
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