CEO of Enloe Medical Center explains hospital capacity, ICU bed availability

Butte County's ICU bed availability is 29%, according to California health officials. Action News Now Christina Vitale spoke with the CEO of Enloe Medical Center, Mike Wiltermood regarding hospital capacity.

Posted: Jul 28, 2020 7:55 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County's ICU bed availability is 29%, according to California health officials.

"We wanna keep our area safe and ready for an emergency's that come through the door," said Enloe Medical Center's Manager, Breana Feistel.

Feistel said as cases began to climb at the beginning of summer, Enloe began planning how to expand.

"What we wanted to do was to be able to safely expand into another space that stays heated in the winters and cool, especially right now in the summer," said Feistel.

"People who have respiratory problems or COVID like symptoms can go and be treated more on a fast track especially if they don't require admission," said CEO of Enloe Medical Center, Mike Wiltermood.

Wiltermood said the building is a reflection of the recent spike of cases saying it is an indication "we really don't know how long COVID is going to be with us."

According to the state, Butte County has 29% bed availability.

"We have 36 emergency room bays and we can create more if we need to," said Wiltermood. "We have well over 300 potential beds for inpatient use."

He said he does not think bed capacity is going to be a problem. Across the county, Wiltermood said, hospitals should consider how many admitted coronavirus patients will need intensive care with a possible ventilator and then the availability of protective equipment and testing.

"All those things are gonna impact us in the event of a major surge of COVID before bed capacity becomes an issue," said Wiltermood.

The CEO said at this point, he feels comfortable with Enloe's surge plan.

"I just want our community to be reassured that they are safe to come in for any healthcare that they need and they are encouraged to do that," he said.

Butte County Public Health said the other local hospitals recently reported they also feel comfortable with their bed availability.

There is an 83% ventilator availability in Butte County.

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