Guest editorial: Park City Hospital and residents have worked together to respond to COVID-19
Park City Hospital board chair
As chairman of the board for Intermountain Park City Hospital, it’s been my privilege to witness how both the hospital and residents of Summit County have come together as our community was hit hard and fast by the novel strain of the coronavirus that led to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus brought with it a new range of health concerns that required careful precautions to protect not only the health and safety of people in the community, but also our patients, physicians, nurses and other caregivers.
As part of the Intermountain Healthcare system, which has always focused on emergency preparedness, Park City Hospital took early steps to help prepare for and work to identify and contain the virus. These efforts were led by our administrator, Lori Weston, who rapidly facilitated early COVID-19 testing, reorganized and increased staffing in our Emergency Department and implemented visitor restrictions inside the hospital.
As the number of patients with respiratory symptoms increased, our emergency department medical director, Mike Dbeisi, M.D., and nurse manager Jennifer Lundberg worked to physically re-configure our emergency department with separate entrances and areas to treat respiratory and non-respiratory patients.
As COVID-19 tests became available, Intermountain set up drive-up testing at the Park City Ice Arena. As demand for testing increased, we joined with University of Utah Health.
Early in the pandemic, the hospital adapted caregiver protocols for wearing masks and personal protective equipment, increased cleaning and housekeeping services and began to implement temperature checks for all who enter the hospital.
To free up beds for a potential surge in patients, the hospital canceled non-urgent surgeries and re-deployed staff to help with testing and in other areas.
When Summit County was identified as a state COVID-19 hot spot, Intermountain dispatched its mobile testing unit to bring asymptomatic testing to people living in neighborhoods identified most at risk. Testing was conducted over five days at locations including Park City High School, the Ecker Hill Park and Ride, the Summit County Library in Kamas, and the Summit County Fairgrounds.
In addition to these efforts by Intermountain and the hospital, I’ve seen unprecedented support from our community during the pandemic. Some have sewn medical grade masks for the statewide initiative Project Protect, or made or donated cloth masks for community use. People have put signs outside the hospital celebrating our health care heroes.
Still others have generously donated funds earmarked to help with the pandemic in creative ways such as providing hospital caregivers with meals, basic grocery supplies or offering alternate housing for those who may need to isolate. Most of these donations have been unsolicited. These donations prompted the creation of Intermountain Healthcare’s new COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, which continues to accept donations. The hospital receives calls from people daily, asking how they can help. For more information visit intermountainhealthcare.org/together.
We need people to continue to get tested if they have at least one symptom, and follow medical advice to stay home or seek care. A physician’s order is not required for drive-up testing at the hospital. Please call the Intermountain COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-5224 or visit IntermountainHealthcare.org prior to arriving to facilitate your visit.
The entire Park City Hospital Board would like to thank the Park City community for the extraordinary support the hospital has received during this unique time.
Dr. Lee Gerstein currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Intermountain Park City Hospital. He is a retired anesthesiologist who lives in Park City year-round.
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