UNMH looks ahead as COVID-19 numbers rise

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico Hospital is at capacity, seeing more coronavirus patients every day. Now, they’re taking another look at their plans in case the worst is still to come.

UNMH has been prepared for a situation like this for nearly a decade. However, no matter how much planning takes place, adjustments still need to be made.

“We had that framework already in place when COVID hit back in the early spring and what we have done is simply adapt those plans to our current situation,” said UNMH Executive Physician Dr. David Pitcher.

UNMH has been running its contingency plan since the beginning of the pandemic, tweaking it as they go as case numbers rise and fall. They have been creating extra beds offsite and sharing resources across the state.

Dr. Pitcher says each plan has a different “trigger” that puts the next step of their contingency plan in place. That plan could determine a change in their staffing, additional care sites, and non-COVID related treatment. However, the “trigger” is based on multiple elements happening in the hospital.

“I wouldn’t say there is a specific number, it’s really a combination of patient volumes what the status of our normal cpacity or capabilities are, what are staffing levels are,” said Dr. Pitcher.

Currently, the hospital is seeing fewer cases that need critical or ICU level care which is helping with their capacity and care plans. UNMH is pushing for communities to continue to follow COVID guidelines as well as get a flu shot to help hospitals not get overwhelmed.

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