MCMH pleads with public to wear masks
Special to The Express
Montgomery County Memorial Hospital (MCMH) implemented a mask mandate very early in the pandemic, and it has proved to be highly beneficial to the organization.
When the United States first began to experience the pandemic, masks were discouraged. This was primarily due to the limited supply available to healthcare workers and also the belief that they would not protect you. Shortly thereafter, health organizations began to endorse mask usage.
So what changed? Masks were found to be effective in protecting others, as well as yourself!
As research continued to develop, it was confirmed that the COVID-19 virus was spread by droplets, or small liquid particles, when a person coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings or breathes heavily. Therefore, wearing a mask blocks, and thereby limits, the droplets that an infected person could pass on to others.
MCMH employs more than 320 people. To date, the organization has had very little COVID-19 transmission between employees. The only known case of employee transmission was traced back to employees who removed their masks to eat lunch together.
“We are highly encouraged by the mask effectiveness that we’ve experienced at MCMH. In eight months, we’ve had virtually no spread of the virus among employees, and we believe that is due to our vigilant adherence to our mask mandate,” said Holly Crowell, RN, MCMH Quality Improvement/Infection Prevention Manager.
MCMH and hospitals across the state have continued to see a rise in the number of inpatients who are being treated for COVID-19.
“Each day we continue to see a growth in the number of COVID-19 patients that we are treating at MCMH. We used to see one or two per month, then a couple per week, now approximately 60 percent of our inpatients are being treated for COVID-19,” said Krystalle Fada, RN, MCMH Administrative Director of Patient Project. “The patients we are now treating are much sicker and have to be treated with supplemental oxygen, antiviral medication and high doses of steroids. We do not have the option to transfer these patients to a larger hospital for higher acuity of care because they are currently overrun with COVID-19 patients as well. We must do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus in our communities.”
MCMH CEO David Abercrombie echoed the plea, “As a hospital, we must be able to care for patients when emergencies arise. The growing number of hospital beds, staff and resources that are being allocated to care for COVID-19 patients is causing hospitals across the state to wonder ‘will we be able to care for patients who need treatment for heart attacks, strokes and other unplanned emergencies?’”
MCMH encourages those in our communities to do their part: wear a mask, social distance when possible and practice good hand hygiene to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.