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Decatur-Morgan Hospital expanding ICU and coronavirus facilities

Decatur-Morgan Hospital is preparing a new coronavirus unit and working to get a new ICU facility.

Posted: Oct 21, 2020 9:29 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2020 10:51 PM

Decatur-Morgan Hospital is preparing a new coronavirus unit and working to get a new ICU facility.

Right now, the hospital has 34 coronavirus inpatients, the largest number the hospital has seen since July, and leaders anticipate that number going up.

"There are a lot of patients the nurse and staff work with that they know that the outcomes may not be good, so it's just devastating to the staff," said hospital president, Kelli Powers.

Powers says lately, she's seen an increase in coronavirus patients.

"Before COVID started, we had not seen our ICU this full," said Powers.

But that's changed.

"We only have one bed available in our ICU here at Decatur," said Powers.

With a total of 18 people in the ICU, five because of coronavirus, the hospital is having to make some adjustments. Powers says a new coronavirus unit located at the Parkway Campus will be ready to open at the end of November.

"A lot of people we have hired have to work out notices at other places and be trained," said Powers.

When it comes to hiring, a nationwide nurse shortage is making that difficult.

"We've actually had to go out and offer a higher rate of pay to these nurses to get them for a two-year commitment," said Powers.

The Parkway Clinic will add up to 36 beds for coronavirus patients, but 12 ICU beds could also be available in a new ICU facility.

"Construction would take us three or four months and we would have to hire more nurses for that," said Powers.

Powers says the hospital just applied for about $4 million from FEMA to pay for the new ICU, and if approved, she hopes it helps both patients and staff.

"The staff, they are tired. They are really tired because this has been going on a long time," said Powers.

Powers says the hospital is expecting to hear back from FEMA in the next few weeks.

Between the coronavirus clinic and the new ICU facility, 100 jobs will be brought to Morgan County.

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