UPMC Wellsboro preparing for potential influx of COVID-19 patients


WELLSBORO, N.Y. (WEMT) – Despite no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tioga County, Pennsylvania (as of 12:00 p.m. March 24), UPMC Wellsboro continues to prepare for a potential influx of patients.

Janie Hilfiger, President of UPMC Wellsboro and UPMC Cole tells 18 News that “as this started to evolve we brought up our emergency management plan, reviewed that, and our hub in Williamsport set up command.”

The hospital goes through a checklist every day of the number of staff and personal protective equipment available, and Hilfiger says she fells “that we have a supply of (PPE, equipment), we have a very strong supply chain within our UPMC system.”

While UPMC has a supply of equipment, they have borrowed beds from Mansfield University’s nursing lab. Those beds are not currently in use, but are in storage just in case.

Hilfiger doesn’t anticipate the hospital needing to borrow additional beds or equipment from local universities at this time.

UPMC Wellsboro has conducted tests for COVID-19, but has received no positive results thus far. Hilfiger says the hospital has been able to collect swab samples from a patient’s provider and receive results within a couple of days.

“The patient would need to go to their provider, then the provider has a phone number for nurse triage in Williamsport with a process of questions that are asked, and based on those questions they are advised whether they need to have testing.”

In the meantime, Hilfiger emphasized that the community needs to continue to practice good hygiene and social distancing.

“Those are just the basic things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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