Johnson County emergency room focused only on COVID-19 cases

Johnson Memorial Health.JPG
Posted at 7:43 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 19:47:41-04

FRANKLIN — A local hospital unexpectedly ended up having two emergency rooms. Now one is being used exclusively to isolate and treat COVID-19 patients.

Johnson Memorial Health is treating COVID-19 patients. Due to construction delays, the hospital finds itself with two emergency rooms. The old emergency room is still open.

The new emergency room, though not open to the public, has been turned into a COVID-19 unit. The facility has 12 patients being treated and as of early afternoon Friday four are confirmed coronavirus cases.

"It is so important because now we can isolate those patients not only keeping them in one unit, it's separating them from the other patients," Dr. Dave Dunkle, president and CEO of Johnson Memorial Health, said. "You still have people coming in here that don't have COVID-19, they have other illnesses."

Dunkle said the hopsital is stokced with the necessary masks and gowns. There are also 15 ventilators in place but none have been used to date. On Thursday, Johnson Memorial saw an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases, specifically from the Otterbein Senior Living facility across the street. Doctors and nurses were ready.

"These are the situations you prepare for," Dunkle said. "I told a physician yesterday, 'There's a reason why we do emergency drills yearly' and you have these plans in place for situations like this."

The new emergency room can handle up to 28 patients, if necessary. There is talk of expanding the space if necessary.