Texas County Memorial Hospital
Emergency room traffic has increased at Texas County Memorial Hospital. Credit: HOUSTON HERALD FILE PHOTO

Texas County Memorial Hospital reviewed and revised hospital policies and procedures due to the recent spike in COVID-19, hospital board members and administration heard at their monthly meeting last week.

“We have reverted back to automatic testing of all our admissions for the protection of all patients and staff,” said  Amanda Turpin, chief nursing officer at TCMH. “This will help diagnose asymptomatic COVID positive patients who would otherwise not be caught prior to admission.”

Chris Strickland, chief executive officer at TCMH, said the Missouri Hospital Association announced it is  estimating the peak for this area to be in late August to early September. 

“Since the first of 2020 to the first of June 2021, we have had 15 COVID deaths total,” Turpin said. “In just July, we had six of those deaths.”

ER visits increase

In June, there were 965 ER visits. Normally that is 675-750, the hospital board heard.

During the same time period, the hospital averaged nine COVID-19 admissions per month. In July, there were 15 in one week and seven during a weekend, she reported.

“Once a COVID patient is intubated and we have maxed out all we can do, they are then transferred out to another hospital,” Turpin noted. “In June, we transferred two patients, and so far in July, we have transferred nine patients.”

Turpin said ER volumes have increased substantially due to COVID, as well.  The normal ER volume averages 675-750 a month, and last month it was 965. 

“The increase in ER visits is directly related to patients waiting to get tested, and then getting really sick and needing to go to the ER,” Strickland said. “We are encouraging those experiencing symptoms to get tested at the clinics prior to an ER visit, as it is better to catch COVID early to start treatment.”

“The Delta strain is much more contagious and aggressive,” Strickland noted.

Dr. Jonathan Beers, DO, chief of staff, mentioned the different patterns the hospital Is seeing.  Before the Delta strain, people were hypoxic (not receiving enough oxygen), but not really short of breath and now they are air hungry.  Patients become extremely sick faster and much worse.

Strickland expressed his concern for TCMH staff and morale due to staff being tired.  He noted that all resources are being utilized to assist with stress management and to show the staff appreciation for its efforts during a difficult time.

“We have submitted an application to SEMA for staffing assistance,” Strickland reported.  “(Rep.) Bennie Cook has been a great help in fighting to try and make this happen for the hospital.”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply