GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — COVID cases are climbing higher each day here on the Western Slope, and this spike is leading to more doctor’s visits and hospitalizations. In response, St. Mary’s Hospital is expanding its COVID-19 training to rural healthcare workers throughout the region. This way, more hospitals and health facilities will be ready for a possible influx of COVID patients.
St. Mary’s Hospital, in Grand Junction, has received a $79,000 federal grant to expand its COVID-19 training to other healthcare workers in the region. Erin Minnerath, Infection Prevention Manager at St. Mary’s Hospital, says, “we are in a position to be able to lead and provide additional resources through this grant, and with the end goal being that were all ready for an influx or surge of COVID-19 patients.”
The critical training is geared towards educating healthcare workers the best practices for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment, as well as rapidly identifying and isolating patients with the novel virus.
Colorado Canyons Hospital, in Fruita, is the first facility to participate in this training program, and Deanna Hofer, Infection Control Coordinator at Colorado Canyons Hospital, says, “it just kind of really helps everybody get on the same page.”
St. Mary’s is a designated Special Pathogen Assessment Hospital, and for years, it has been developing the capacity to take care of patients with highly hazardous infections. In addition, St. Mary’s is the only tertiary care center between Salt Lake City, Utah and Denver Colorado; therefore, Minnerath adds, “[the training program is] really going to help facilities take what we’ve done, and what we’ve learned, and adapt it to fit for their facility.”
The training program will be delivered to healthcare workers and facilities on a first come first serve basis, and it’s free.