OSF Saint Francis Chief Nursing Officer Jen Hopwood said the hospital has boosted its bed counts to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients.
The hospital usually has 649 beds and can handle 120 patients in the intensive care unit. With adjustments, it now has 1,000 beds and can take up to 200 ICU patients.
"Part of that is being able to utilize spaces outside of the traditional ICU setting," Hopwood said. "Areas like our procedural areas, recovery areas, pre/post areas for us to be able to monitor ICU patients in."
Alternative care sites like the downtown hotels and the Peoria Civic Center are also being prepped to handle potential overflow.
Hopwood said staff who usually work on nonessential surgeries and procedures are being redeployed to help with critical care.
The hospital has 130 ventilators. Thirty eight were in use as of Thursday. But Hopwood said if a large influx of COVID-19 patients were to need additional support, there are contingency plans.
"The ventilators that we do have are able to do multi-patient modalities. Not ideal, and would be a last resort. We could also look to utilizing our anesthesia machines for ventilation, and we have a number of those because our case volume is down, that could be used as well," she said. Hopwood said the hospital also has an adequate oxygen supply.
The novel coronavirus is a respiratory illness that can make breathing difficult. As of Thursday, four patients with a confirmed COVID-19 case and nine with a suspected case were being treated in a Peoria-area intensive care unit.
The Tri-County area currently has 21 confirmed cases, four more than Wednesday. Currently, Illinois public health officials expect a peak in COVID-19 cases around mid-to-late April.
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