By Denise Kendust
As a Level II Trauma Center, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) typically runs a high census in the ICU, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Bed capacity is a fluctuating figure depending on the care needed by our patients on any given day. This is why our hospitals have been preparing for months to respond to potential impacts of COVID-19. We have surge plans in place for the ICU that will be activated if needed. In addition, there are a number of initiatives that we have implemented to keep our patients, colleagues and physicians safe including:
Our hospital leadership consistently monitors the guidance and information provided by our local Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Our hospital is strictly implementing guidelines established by the CDC, and working closely with our federal, state and local partners including the local health department.
As these official sources share updates and changes, we revise our processes and response accordingly, and communicate with our staff and physicians.
While our caregivers are accustomed to caring for patients with respiratory infections, as we often do during flu season, we have been reinforcing well-established infection prevention protocols and sharing the latest guidance from the CDC.
At this time, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is well equipped to respond to the needs of our community.
We continue to communicate with our hospital and medical staff to:
• provide necessary updates;
• reinforce appropriate infection response and prevention protocols; and
• ensure access to necessary supplies and equipment.
Our preparedness efforts also include arranging staffing contingency and emergency plans in the event they are needed.
“Our hospital caregivers manage communicable diseases on a daily basis; our experts know how to identify and treat infectious illnesses while minimizing risk to caregivers and patients, just as we have done in cases such as the seasonal flu or other communicable diseases,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. “Well before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) had already taken exceptional measures to face the virus head on, and plan, prepare and mitigate its potential threat.”