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Bryan opens COVID-19 isolation ward at East Campus hospital

Bryan opens COVID-19 isolation ward at East Campus hospital

From the Latest updates on coronavirus in Lincoln and nearby series
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Bryan expansion, 08.11.2018

Bryan has opened a 14-bed isolation unit for COVID-19 patients on the sixth floor of Acklie Tower at its East Campus hospital.

Bryan Health officials on Friday said they have opened an isolation unit to deal with COVID-19 patients.

John Woodrich, CEO of Bryan Medical Center, said the 14-person unit is open on the sixth floor of the Acklie Tower on Bryan East Campus. All the rooms have negative pressure to deal with infectious disease cases.

He said Bryan can open up three additional isolation units if it sees a surge of COVID-19 patients needing to be hospitalized.

The announcement comes just three days after CHI St. Elizabeth said it was turning the sixth floor of its hospital into a 40-person isolation ward for COIVID-19 patients.

Lancaster County so far has only three confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, but local hospitals continue preparations to deal with large numbers of sick patients.

Both Lincoln hospital groups, along with Lincoln Surgical Hospital and the city's two main orthopedics providers moved earlier this week to suspend all elective surgeries for 90 days. That was done mostly to preserve personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks and gowns.

Bryan provided numbers Friday that show just how much of a difference not doing those surgeries can have.

Bob Ravenscroft, Bryan's vice president of advancement and chief development officer, said that from March 10-17, Bryan used an average of 1,400 gowns and 3,900 masks a day.

Since stopping elective surgeries, its usage has dropped to 420 gowns and 940 masks a day.

Ravenscroft said those reductions are important because Bryan is experiencing supply chain issues with national companies in replentishing supplies, especially gowns.

Another change Bryan announced Friday is that it will begin taking temperatures of all hospital visitors in an effort to keep out anyone who is sick. The hospital has already limited visitors to no more than two per patient.

CHI Health moved Friday to reduce the number of visitors per patient from two to one.

The restrictions are not as strict as at some hospitals, however. For example, Omaha-based Nebraska Medicine banned visitors for all adult patients except women giving birth.

One other change Bryan announced Friday involves its drive-thru testing clinic.

Of the 166 people who came through the first three days, only one tested positive for influenza and only 19 tested positive for some other respiratory illness. That means 146 samples were sent off to a lab for COVID-19 testing.

Because of that, Woodrich said that beginning Saturday, the clinic at Bryan's at its LifePointe campus will do only COVID-19 testing.

He said there are shortages of supplies for doing some of the respiratory tests, so "we think that it's a good opportunity for us to be prudent in rationing the supplies we have."

Because testing should now take less time, Woodrich said Bryan will reduce the drive-thru clinic hours from 2-6 p.m. to 2-4 p.m.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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