Mercy Hospital works to prevent virus spread

Michael Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite
Cars parked in a Mercy Hospital Ardmore parking lot on Tuesday. Recent visitor restrictions are among efforts to reduce the chance of transmitting the COVID-19 virus to patients or staff.

Mercy Hospital in Ardmore has made recent changes in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitor restrictions and health screening locations are among some of the measures taken locally and across the Mercy Hospital network.

Some waiting areas remain open for outpatient services but other public areas like the gift shop and cafeteria are closed, according to Mercy Hospital Ardmore spokesperson Lindsey Kidd. She said in a Tuesday email that food can still be ordered via room service. On Saturday, the Ardmore hospital joined others across Oklahoma in imposing visitor restrictions.

While the goal of recent changes is to reduce the number of people in the hospital that could potentially transmit the virus, hospital crews are still making sure that certain surfaces are regularly disinfected. “Our facilities team is deep-cleaning the building as they always have but are paying close attention to high touch areas like door knobs, hand rails, elevator buttons, etc.,” she said.

Kidd said protective equipment is also available to staff, including nurses and doctors who regularly interact with vulnerable patients. “Mercy facilities in Oklahoma are part of a larger health care system that uses a robust supply chain,” she said. “We are continuing to focus on infection prevention and following the CDC guidelines,” she said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Ardmore hospital is part of a network with 25 hospitals across four states. According to its website, the network also includes more than 2,700 physicians, advanced practitioners and supporting staff in more than 300 clinical offices. The Ardmore campus had 150 beds and nearly 900 co-workers, according to website data from fiscal year 2019.

When asked about any contingency plan if patient numbers exceed the number of available beds, Kidd responded that “The number of available beds regularly fluctuates, and whether it’s COVID-19 or a surge of any other type of patient, Mercy is prepared to place patients in the most appropriate setting in order to provide ICU care to those best suited for that level of care.”