Beebe Healthcare: We are ready for surge
It has been two weeks since Gov. John Carney ordered everyone who could to shelter in place and closed nonessential businesses as Delaware battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite stay-at-home orders in surrounding states, the number of lights on in houses that usually stand empty this time of year is a clear indication many nonresidents are riding out this crisis in the Cape Region.
Leading our region’s response is Beebe Healthcare, itself in transition, with new President and CEO Dr. David Tam taking the helm earlier than expected, just as COVID-19 arrived in Delaware.
Hospital officials held a virtual town hall meeting April 2 and a second Facebook Live discussion April 6, after the Cape Gazette went to press, to outline Beebe Healthcare’s strategy to see our community through the pandemic.
Tam said in the past few weeks, the volume of patient care had gone down, but Beebe decided to maintain a full staff, citing two main reasons: extra staffing now allows time for cross-training, so employees can do not just their regular jobs but other jobs as well, should some staff members fall ill.
Just as important, by ensuring everyone continues to get a paycheck, Beebe is caring for its caregivers, Tam said, providing economic stability for every employee. As one of Sussex County’s largest employers, keeping everyone on the job is also a significant investment in the Cape Region economy.
Tam said getting needed equipment will likely be an issue going forward, but Beebe has a plan in place. Careful screening of staff, limiting visitors and conserving resources now will help ensure workers have the equipment they will need, he said.
No one can predict how this crisis will play out. But Beebe Hospital, founded in 1916, saw this region through the last pandemic, in 1918.
“We are facing a battle,” Tam said. “We have a plan of what we need to do. We are prepared as best as we can be.” Tam also emphasized it will take the entire community to see us through. Stay home, he said. Wash your hands.
Many lives depend on it.