St. Joseph’s/Candler reopening elective surgeries, outpatient areas

Candler Hospital
Candler Hospital(WTOC)
Updated: Apr. 17, 2020 at 4:38 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System has announced, starting Wednesday (4/22), they will reopen their elective surgeries and outpatient areas.

The CEO Paul Hinchey says they are encouraged by what they are seeing and will do so responsibly.

That means they will continue to screen patients and visitor restrictions will remain in place.

Essentially they will just allow patients who need service to get it.

He feels they are ready to reopen as they have seen a plateau of COVID cases.

Right now St. Joseph’s/Candler has a total of nine COVID patients, three are on ventilator and four patients are awaiting results.

Hinchey says in the past three weeks they’ve seen their numbers decrease.

He also says he’s confident in his full staff and their four month supply of PPE.

“What it is, is turning on the faucet a little, not full flush, and being rational about it and also being prepared that you can always dial it back if you had to. So it’s cautious optimism and this community is ready for that.”

He says while they are doing this we all have to be responsible still social distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands.

Hinchey says they made an intentional decision to keep all staff through this time so they’ve be ready to go if needed.

That means also for the roll out of reopening some of their services on Wednesday.

Their decision to reopen surgery and outpatient areas was not swayed by the President or their financial status, which is down.

“The financial hit, back of a napkin will be between 10 to 15 million, but we’re going to get some stimulus money for that so that will take the sting out of some of it and we also are fortunate that we have a very strong balance sheet, so we’re not in any position where we wouldn’t recover fully from that.”

Ultimately Hinchey says they feel they are ready to reopen and encouraged by what they are seeing in the health system relating COVID cases, but they aren’t letting their guard down.

In addition to reopening, the health system will add another tool to their kit Monday with antibody testing. We’re told they will use it in addition to a swab to ensure accurate results.

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