May 22, 2020 11:35 AM

Hutchinson Regional never saw COVID-19 surge

Posted May 22, 2020 11:35 AM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson Regional Medical Center has never been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

"At our peak, I think we had a couple of folks on the ventilator that were positive," said Chuck Welch with the hospital. "That's the breathing machine that's been all over the news. We had a couple of those running at once in our ICU. We may have had, I believe at our peak, we had three or four positive COVID patients at once."

The hospital has many more ventilators than that.

"We could easily put a breathing tube in somebody and ventilate for them, probably 35," Welch said. "We have the capability to stretch beyond that with machines that aren't primary ventilators, but can be outfitted or retrofitted to be ventilators. We can probably flex up to 45 with those."

That would be machines like CPAP machines that push air but aren't primarily designed as ventilators. The initial concern was a lack of Personal Protective Equipment for medical workers. That concern is mitigated for now.

"We are through the peak and we never got a surge," Welch said. "We are far from overwhelmed. We are a 190 bed licensed hospital. Really, the Hutchinson medical community as a whole is open for business."

It's important if you have other conditions and have been waiting on medical care, the time is now to schedule appointments as the hospitals and doctor's offices are looking for patients and they know how to handle potential COVID cases, should they arise.