On Saturday, a 64-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19, marking is the first positive test result in Livingston County, before, and after the positive result, the CEO of Hedrick Medical Center wants to reassure area residents that HMC is prepared.

“I want to strongly reassure the community that we are prepared for whatever they may need,” Steve Schieber, CEO of Hedrick Medical Center (HMC) said. “I want to acknowledge the incredible efforts of all of our employees who have risen to the occasion and are prepared for this.”

Healthcare facilities across the state and country are stating there is an issue getting much-needed and critical supplies like masks and gloves. Schieber says area residents should rest assured that HMC has an adequate supply of those items, along with ventilators.

“Due to a collaboration with the entire St. Luke’s System we have and I feel will maintain an adequate supply,” he said. “We have a large supply based on the allocation given to us.

Weeks ago healthcare professionals began preparing for the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“There has been an immense amount of preparations,” Schieber said. “We have an excellent partnership, support, guidelines. We have an excellent staff who are branching out and stepping up, offering to help however they can.”

HMC has private test kits, but those who are presenting symptoms are reminded to not just show up at a clinic or the hospital’s emergency room.

“It is very important that the public remembers that if they have symptoms, they need to call their healthcare provider and follow this instruction, but do not just show up and walk into a facility if you have symptoms,” he said.

On Wednesday, HMC in conjunction with Wright Memorial Hospital set-up a drive-thru testing site in Chillicothe.

For several weeks HMC has been screening all employees and patients who come to the facility. Schieber said all elective procedures have been called off, and some hospital staff, have been allowed to work from home, all in efforts to protect staff and patients. Among screening procedures for everyone coming into the hospital, there are also strict policies and regulations regarding personal protective equipment for anyone in the facility.

The hospital has beds for 25 patients, however, Schieber said that if patients began to be admitted in Chillicothe, there is the ability to convert other now, unused areas of the hospital into isolation and care areas for those who do test positive.

Schieber said he knows other hospitals - both small rural and large metropolitan facilities are struggling with access to supplies and beds for patients.

“Our census numbers are down right now, “ he said. “That and with the ability to use departments within the facility, that is not being used now, we feel we will have adequate ability to separate any COVID-19 patients from other patients.”

He noted that he feels HMC, a critical access hospital, and Wright Memorial in Trenton are well prepared.

“We are absolutely confident that we are in the proper stages of planning, preparation and response,” Schieber said. “At this point, we do not have the worries about materials that many other facilities have, and are confident we can meet our community needs and be there for them no matter what their needs are and especially during this difficult time.”

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