ANGOLA — Cameron Memorial Community Hospital is holding its own when it comes to having necessary beds to meet the needs of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the community.
The hospital is also facing issues common to the healthcare industry: having adequate staff and keeping them healthy.
“We evaluate our bed capacity and staffing on a continuous basis. Right now we have empty beds and have plans to add beds if we need them,” said Connie McCahill, Cameron’s president and CEO.
Cameron is a 25-bed critical access hospital. During the original outset of COVID-19, Cameron converted much of its space to deal with a possible onslaught of patients and created a respiratory clinic to handle virus-related issues.
While staffing has been a cause of worry, levels are adequate, she said.
“Staffing is a concern and we are making contingency plans. However staffing levels are safe at this point,” McCahill said.
Statewide hospitalizations continued to rise, increasing slightly to 3,077 total patients, the highest amount ever, said the Indiana State Department of Health’s daily update on COVID-19.
Hospitalizations in Health District 3, which includes the four-county area, Allen and Whitley counties and five others to the south, have declined a bit, dropping to 342 patients in treatment for COVID-19 from a record high of 397 patients set earlier this week.
Like other healthcare facilities, Cameron is also dealing with staff infections.
“Just as we are seeing community spread we are seeing more staff with positive tests and symptoms. Our front line staff continue to go above and beyond to serve their patients and community,” McCahill said.
McCahill reiterated that people needing a COVID-19 test need to use the free clinic in Commons Park, 501 S. John St. It is open five days a week. While appointments are preferred, walk-ins are welcome. To schedule a test, visit scheduling.coronavirus.IN.gov.
The test site at Commons Hall in the park is open Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-7 p.m.
“Testing capacity is being strained here as throughout the country so to protect very limited resources we are only testing patients in the hospital, healthcare workers and first responders and symptomatic patients at the Respiratory Clinic who also need care,” McCahill said.
The new testing facility led to what was a record high for single-day testing, which was Thursday, when 205 people got tested. Previously testing has been running in the double digits.
At Cameron, McCahill said plans were being made to ramp up to start providing people with vaccinations.
“We are also planning for the vaccination of several thousand people in a four-county region,” she said.
Widespread vaccinations aren’t expected to start until possibly the spring of next year.