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As you’ve no doubt heard by now, COVID 19 is here in the Lexington Community, Dawson County and the Two Rivers Public Health Department.  As always, and especially with the fear and concern surrounding this new virus, we have been very careful about saying too much about hospital activity, but now we have enough data to make sharing some general statistics about overall hospital activity, safe for all concerned.

Lexington Regional Health Center had its first hospital admission on April 11.  The past twelve days of total activity are depicted in the chart above.  We have seen 22 total positive or presumptively positive COVID patients since April 11 through April 23 at 5:00pm.  This number represents all admissions, transfers and discharges.  A little over half of these patients have been transferred to area hospitals in North Platte and in Kearney; most have been intubated prior to transfer.  While LRHC has ventilators and can managed ventilated patients, larger tertiary hospitals manage these patients regularly.  Our plan has included transfer to these facilities as long as there is bed capacity.

While it has been a challenge working our way through new processes and managing patient flow it has provided an opportunity to see just how spectacular this team and this community is.  The planning and preparation for this has been extensive and ongoing.  New information is always emerging about patient care and related COVID 19 recommendations for the public, providers, employers and most importantly, the community.

The community support has been extraordinarily important in all of this.  The show of support for the hospital team has lifted spirits, generated unity and underscored all the best that rural has to give – even in the face of social distancing.

Larger hospitals in the surrounding area have been critical to our ability to offer the best possible care to our community, who have contracted this virus.  The well-established relationship with Priority Medical and their Medical Director, Dr. Jim Smith has been central to managing patient transfer and coordinating care.  Relationships with other organizations and their medical teams have been essential during this time.  The Governor and his CMO, DHHS,  the NHA, FEMA, NRHA, our Representatives and my colleagues across the state have all helped the Lexington community and LRHC weather this storm with as little damage as possible.

The LRHC team is a force to behold.  The entire team – everyone – has willingly, graciously, and with thoughtful, compassionate care worked hard to make a difference.  Typically, we think of the Doctors, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, nurses and other caregivers when we think about the LRHC care team, but our team could not function without equal commitment from every single person – it is an honor and a privilege to work alongside these heroes.

Rural Strong has become our tagline here at LRHC and I would be remiss in not mentioning the efforts put forth by so many in this community.  The school immediately stepped up and continues working hard to ensure our children are well nourished, the City has taken a very active role in managing this, law enforcement, EMTs, and our businesses are all trying their best to do all that they can to help put a stop to the spread of this virus along with so many others too numerous to name – generally speaking, everyone in the district is working together to help one another during these stressful times.

So, although this new virus certainly carries a set of challenges that are difficult to address, it has given many of us pause to practice gratitude, grace, appreciation and compassion.  Lexington and Lexington Regional Health Center are the embodiment of RuralStrong.