ROCK SPRINGS — Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) is still having trouble obtaining PPE (Personal Protective Equipment); and when their orders are filled, it’s costing them a lot more to purchase.
During MHSC’s regular board meeting Wednesday afternoon, the trustees listened to an update from Kim White, MHSC’s Incident Commander for MHSC COVID-19 Preparedness and Clinical Documentation Specialist. White said the hospital is continuing to have trouble getting its PPE equipment orders, including one-time use N95 masks. These are the masks the hospitals usually use.
White said the hospital is continuing to issue employees reusable N95 masks and filters because the Food and Drug Administration approved the VPRO sterilization process to sanitize these types of masks.
The hospital is also having a hard time obtaining disposable gowns. While White is grateful for any PPE’s the hospital can obtain, she can’t help but notice a significant price change.
“If we are able to obtain PPE, it’s more expensive,” White said.
She figured the cost of PPE has increased from 100 to 500 percent.
“That financially is going to be a concern,” White said.
After hearing about how expensive the PPE was getting, MHSC Board Chairman Taylor Jones asked White if the price increase was because companies could charge that amount.
White said she believes that’s what is happening because she spoke to representatives from Aspen Mountain Medical Center and they are experiencing the same thing.
“You know, it’s really sad,” White said.
MHSC Chief Financial Officer Tami Love said the hospital can use Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, funding to help pay for the additional costs the hospital is having to pay to obtain PPE.
Hospital COVID-19 Positive Cases
White also updated the board on the 14 hospital employees who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. She said all 14 employees have made a full recovery and have returned to work.
White said it was determined none of the employees contracted the virus while working at the hospital, nor have any patients at the hospital contracted the virus while staying at the hospital.
As for tests, the hospital has completed 4,999 tests with 213 positive cases, which is about a 4.5 percent positive rate.
“That’s been about where we have been for the last two weeks,” she said.
The hospital recently had a problem with 38 of its COVID-19 tests not making it to lab due to the courier who delivered the tests accidentally leaving them in the car. Those tests needed to be completed again. White said she wanted to make sure the board knew about the error.