International Medical Corps and CHRISTUS Spohn partner to respond to COVID-19 surge

Staff Writer
Alice Echo News Journal
JWC officials take tour at a medical tent stationed at the Alice hospital that is being used to help with COVID-19.

Jim Wells County officials met at the CHRISTUS Spohn Alice Hospital to tour a field unit that was set up by the International Medical Corps emergency team members.

The International Medical Corps emergency team explained to officials about the steps being taken by the organizations to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19.

As part of its global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, International Medical Corps is deploying emergency medical field units, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to support CHRISTUS Spohn Health System—a not-for-profit six-hospital system that has provided healthcare services to the Coastal Bend area of South Texas for more than 100 years—to help it respond to COVID-19.

The International Medical Corps field units enable hospitals to expand triage and treatment space at existing facilities, improve patient flow and keep COVID-19 patients separated from other patients. Depending on the configuration chosen, hospitals can potentially treat hundreds of extra patients per day with the units, which can include patient beds, medical examination supplies, portable sinks, power, lighting and HVAC units. The field units can be constructed in approximately six to 12 hours, be operational within 24 hours and withstand sustained winds of up to 80 mph. Each hospital determines specifically how it intends to use the additional space and resources.

CHRISTUS Spohn will use its emergency medical field units to expand its footprint during emergencies and pandemics. Because the units are versatile, they can serve as triage sites; testing sites; distribution centers and waiting rooms, serving as a valuable resource for Coastal Bend communities.

The field units, equipment and supplies are funded by AbbVie, and are helping to increase capacity at overburdened hospitals throughout the US, where International Medical Corps has fielded 26 deployments. Emergency medical field units are now outside Boston, in greater Chicago, in the Corpus Christie area, in Detroit, in Los Angeles and California’s Central Valley, in New York and in Puerto Rico. FedEx provides related logistical and shipping support to the nationwide effort.

International Medical Corps also has activated its volunteer roster of nearly 300 medical professionals to provide medical surge capacity to hospitals around the country, to fill critical gaps in patient care, nursing, and infection prevention and control. In addition, it is training existing hospital staff on preparedness, response and mental health needs as needed, and providing online training through its COVID-19 Learning Series.

International Medical Corps is working globally with international health bodies, local and national governments, ministries of health, local health facilities and community-based organizations to provide expertise, equipment, training, and triage and treatment services in response to the pandemic. Its response prioritizes areas where the disease has already spread or where healthcare systems—and, thus, populations—are particularly vulnerable.