It was the moment that CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards “never wanted to have happen” at Cox South.
Edwards informed media outlets on Wednesday afternoon the hospital would be opening their specially build COVID-19 ward to take four patients considered in the most serious of conditions.
Cox reported having 25 COVID-19 patients, with 10 admitted Monday while the Springfield City Council was debating the new masking ordinance.
“On July 1, just two weeks ago, we had 268 positive [tests],” Edwards said at a press conference. “We are now at 568.”
Edwards said it would not be surprising to see another doubling of positive test results within the next two weeks before we can expect to see any impact from the masking ordinance.
Cox will be hiring extra nursing staff to help run the newly opened ward. He said that the hospital has enough Personal Protection Equipment and has a system to sterilize masks and other gear to extend their supply.
Edwards said the bigger concern is that the increased amount of patients will likely lead to shortages of Remdesivir and convalescent plasma.
“If you have antibodies for this disease, we encourage people to go to the Community Blood Center, donate, we need that right now,” Edwards said.
The COVID-19 ward will be used for the most severe of cases, mostly those who will be using ventilators or are close to needing a vent. The hospital will continue to use the ICU unit designated for COVID patients for those who are serious but not quite ready for a vent. The least severe cases will be in regular rooms that are set with negative pressure and other COVID-19 protections.