Augusta Health blasts article blasting coronavirus readiness

Augusta HealthAugusta Health is pushing back, to say the least, against reporting in today’s News Leader suggesting that the hospital could run out of space if the coronavirus presents like the common flu.

A story headlined “Augusta Health will run out of hospital beds if coronavirus matches rate of mild flu season” reported that there could be “seven times as many severely or critically ill coronavirus patients as hospital beds,” further down in the article calling that a “conservative estimate.”

The article does a read a bit sensational, with a subhead telling us that “(n)o hospital is prepared,” citing as its foundation for making that assumption the supposition that 7.4 percent of the local community will need a hospital bed, which the article relates is a number that USA Today is using to determine potential impact on a state level.

A message posted to the Augusta Health Facebook page called the article “irresponsible and misleading.”

“This analysis lacks the full analysis of an emergency preparedness plan, and the recognition that Augusta Health has managed many mild and severe flu seasons,” the message read.
“Augusta Health has a thorough and well-developed emergency plan in place to address the equipment and personnel needed to handle a sudden surge of patients. It is regretful that while we are trying to care for our community, patients and employees that we are distracted by having to respond to this misguided and irresponsible reporting.”

Story by Chris Graham

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