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Memorial Hospital at Gulfport makes changes as COVID-19 cases surge

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 7:05 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Memorial Hospital at Gulfport is making changes in response to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi.

“We are certainly concerned and we are beginning to look at our facility, look at our plans, what kind of surge planning we need to put into place,” said Kathy Ladner, VP of Patient Care Services. “So we’re evaluating all of those things now. Certainly, we are seeing the numbers go up, we are concerned about what we are seeing and we want to be prepared for that.”

The most noticeable immediate change is the hospital’s front entrance being closed.

“We’ve been working on it this week, getting some feedback, looking at the state guidelines and CDC guidelines, making sure that our screening processes are appropriate, pulling back in some of our entry points,” Ladner said.

The state department of health told hospitals to start looking at limiting elective surgeries, especially those that require an overnight stay.

“We’re going to do what the guidelines from the state department of health asks us to do which is to preserve beds for sick community members exposed to COVID-19,” said Matt Walker, Memorial Hospital Clinic Operations VP. “So that is what we have been asked to do and we will respond accordingly as far as our surgical schedule goes.”

Because the hospital system has experienced the challenges of the pandemic, Walker said the staff is better prepared for this fourth wave.

“Now we are able to offer vaccinations at more than 24 locations,” said Walker. “We’re able to offer COVID testing at more than 27 locations and we’re rapidly expanding our monoclonal antibody infusion capabilities even as we speak right now.”

Walker said those services will soon double to provide the infusion to up to 60 patients a day. As the health caregivers prepare for the worst, they ask the community to do its part to stop the spread of the virus.

“We need to increase vaccinations,” Walker said. “We’re seeing a good upward trend on folks that are interested in the vaccine. That needs to continue, and that needs to continue very quickly. Folks need to get vaccinated, they need to take this very seriously.”

The fourth wave does offer different challenges.

“We are seeing a lot of differences this time,” Ladner said. “We are seeing a lot younger population of patients who are being admitted into the hospital which creates some additional challenges for families and the community as well.

“But we know what we need to be prepared for, we know what supplies we need to get on hand,” said Walker. “Make sure we’re adequately supplied in those. We know what we need in terms of staff numbers.”

Memorial is planning to open a drive-through testing facility near the hospital next week. Until then if you need to be tested for COVID, Walker asks please don’t go to the Emergency Room. Instead, call one of the Memorial Hospital clinics.

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