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Weeks Chief Nursing Officer gives COVID-19 update

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
November 12, 2020
LANCASTER — As of Nov. 9, Coos County has a cumulative number of 162 COVID-19 cases, with roughly 130 of those confirmed within the past two weeks. Weeks Medical Center's Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Bach-Guss sat down with the Democrat to update the community.

As the outbreaks keep popping up, Bach-Guss said, "We are watching, because we are part of Coos County, and the spread in Berlin and Colebrook means that in all likely hood we will continue to see some positives in the area."

"From what I have seen and done in terms of contact tracing inside the hospital, we are not seeing transmission to staff, patients or peers. This speaks to the fact that using proper PPE works. When you're in the hospital, we're wearing masks, washing hands and have set up social distancing," said Bach-Guss.

She says that cases are spiking because people are making decisions to expose themselves in situations that aren't necessarily essential.

"We all are responsible for protecting ourselves and our community. If you're symptomatic or not feeling well, avoid gatherings outside of your home and reconsider any travel plans that include going outside the area. Reconsider all gatherings. When you choose not to wear a mask, the person you put at risk isn't you," said Bach-Guss.

Bach-Guss says that after spending time in the community she was surprised to see staff and patrons not wearing masks.

Of concern to Bach-Guss is the rate at which hospitalizations could increase.

"Usually, there is an increase in hospitalizations two weeks after an influx of positive cases. While hopefully most won't need it, it is a concern," she said.

Currently there are no hospitalizations at Weeks. The local pandemic response team has been running through emergency preparedness procedures over the past month.

"We continue to do drills and are up to date on the latest treatment protocols, and our able to do what we can within our resources. We do not have immediate availability for the more advanced treatments that people have been reading about in the news, we do not have ready supplies of that here and we're not sure if we can even get them," said Bach-Guss.

Lastly, she said, "This is what we have been anticipating. We expected a spike this fall now that more people are going inside. The next hump is Thanksgiving, plus there's been an influx of people from outside the area."

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