April 3, 2020

Huggins Hospital Prepares for Possible Surge due to COVID-19

Huggins Hospital Prepares for Possible Surge

Huggins Hospital – like other hospitals across the state and nation – is preparing for a likely surge in patients if the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is not mitigated by social distancing and other efforts.

Huggins Hospital has been operating under a Code White for the past month, a structure that includes an Incident Command Center to prepare and respond to crisis situations. Even prior to operationalizing an Incident Command Center, Huggins Hospital had established a COVID-19 Planning Committee to research the outbreak and steps the organization needed to take to prepare.

Once Huggins Hospital established an Incident Command Center, they quickly implemented new services to support the needs of the community regarding COVID-19. The new services included a COVID-19 Hotline to offer navigation and clinical assistance to those seeking testing or information; a safe site for those in need of COVID-19 testing; a Temporary Outpatient Practice to see those with respiratory illness who may not initially need COVID-19 testing but who still need care; screenings at each of our entrances; and telehealth services to provide care to patients who prefer to stay home.

Huggins Hospital has also been conducting surge planning for a potential influx in patients. This surge planning includes increasing inpatient capacity at Huggins Hospital from 25 to 39. It also includes an increase in Emergency Department capacity. Once Huggins Hospital’s number of inpatients reaches 25, hospital clinical leaders would notify the state and local emergency planners with the need to activate an Alternate Care Site (ACS) temporarily located at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro.

Huggins Hospital has planned to utilize the local ACS if needed – along with help from partners in the Wolfeboro Police Department, Wolfeboro Fire and Rescue, the Town of Wolfeboro and the Carroll County Coalition for Public Health. An ACS is a typical component of public health emergency preparedness planning. ACS logistics have been part of Carroll County’s emergency preparedness plans for many years in order to prepare for unexpected crises such as this pandemic. 

Our local ACS will be prepared by the second week in April in anticipation for surge needs. The initial capacity would be for 25 patients but the capacity can be increased if needed.

As this pandemic progresses, Huggins Hospital and their local partners will continue to work together to provide care and information to our community. Please continue to stay home whenever possible and remember to call your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your health. We are all in this together. With the support of everyone in our community, we will be a team to care for those in need. For more information about COVID-19 and Huggins Hospital’s response, please visit www.hugginshospital.org/COVID-19.