Monument Health emergency room looking to expand

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Between regular emergency room visitors and COVID-19 patients, Monument Health has been very busy.

The need to keep the two groups separated is putting strain on its current number of beds, so they’re looking to expand by another 200.

Officials say this is considered a somewhat normal occurrence, but the need to separate COVID versus non-COVID patients is complicating matters.

To make room for those patients and to lower the possibility of COVID-19 transmissions, the hospital is currently working to complete a COVID ward expansion by September.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 37 hospitalized patients have been separated from non-COVID patients.

“We do try to cohort those COVID patients together so we are separating COVID and non-COVID,” says Chief Nursing and Performance Officer, Nicole Kerkenbusch.

The hospital currently has capabilities to care for about 250 COVID patients. By adding the new ward, an additional 200 COVID patients can be treated in Rapid City. Should the need exceed those beds, the National Guard has another 100 beds available at Camp Rapid.

Officials believe that among other things, the increase in emergency visits may be largely due to patients avoiding hospital visits because of the pandemic.

“Patients have maybe delayed treatment that they normally would have taken care of or people were scared to come to the hospital for treatment of something like cardiac problem, or diabetes,” says Kerkenbusch.

As a result, patients have not been getting necessary care on a routine basis, and hospitals in South Dakota and across the country have seen sicker patients.

Though there has been an increase in emergencies, visits have been in line with what is normally expected and include motor vehicle accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and outdoor sporting accidents.

Patients are encouraged to watch for signs and symptoms of strokes and heart attacks, and if necessary get to the emergency room as soon as possible, as normal hospital operations are in effect for patients.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News