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LOCAL NEWS: A look at local hospitals

LOCAL NEWS: A look at local hospitals
Although Oregon has well below the national rate of covid-19 virus infection, the University of Washington is projecting 550 deaths in the state through the first wave. A U-W report projects hospital use won’t peak until May 6 th and area hospitals are not relaxing. Coast Community Radio’s Jacob Lewin spoke with Providence Seaside Hospital CEO Don Lemmon and has this report: {1:49)
As with other hospitals in Oregon, Providence Seaside is under orders not to do any non-emergency procedures to conserve supplies and concentrate on covid-19. Hospital CEO Don Lemmon says that the order will be in effect until mid-June:
“The overall mood here is very focused. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis and I can tell you that everybody is focused on providing care right now.” 
The hospital is stopping cars at a checkpoint and has set up a big triage tent where health care providers assess patients to limit the number entering the hospital itself, but in a sense the 25 bed community hospital is expanding:
“The 25 bed limit has been waived by the government and we’re in the process of creating a surge plan that will actually get us up to a total of 44 beds available should we need them.” 
Providence Seaside is still delivering babies and doing emergency surgery and Lemmon says it has not had to lay off any of its 425 employees unlike Columbia Memorial in Astoria which has temporarily layed off 90 employees and declined to comment for this story. Seaside employees not involved in emergency services are now in covid-19 response support roles:
“For instance, the employees that are manning the checkpoint, the employees that are manning the triage tent. Those are individuals have been taken from other areas and redeployed.” 
Lemmon says through conservation and community support, the hospital has the supplies it needs. Clatsop county dentists, for example, have been donating n-95 masks:
“We are certainly here and ready should a surge occur and I believe we are well-positioned for that.” :06
Although the hospital continues to do testing for the virus, it is sending samples to the Providence lab in Portland for 24-hour turn-around. For Coast Community Radio, I’m Jacob Lewin.