Health center activates internal disaster plan for the first time in decades

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)– Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center activated its internal disaster plan for the first time in decades.

This plan allows for the Mattoon hospital to have staff on call whenever needed and use space that isn’t usually filled with beds for patients.

Vice President of Medical Affairs Dwight Pentzien told WCIA this hasn’t happened before in at least his 24 years working at the hospital.

Part of the plan is setting up a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System tent. You may recognize it from the early days of the pandemic.

“I’m concerned for our staffing, particularly our critical patients. If we get many more critical patients, the issue currently is that, like many other hospitals, we’re full in that area. The tertiary care centers like Carle are also very limited in the beds that they have available,” Pentzien shared. “So those patients, we don’t have many good options as far as transfer.”

The tent is set up to hold overflow patients from the Emergency Room. It will be used only for patients that have not been admitted, according to Pentzien.

He said the hospital has had more patients than normal bed capacity every day for three weeks. The hospital had 30 COVID-19 patients as of Friday. Several are in the Intensive Care Unit.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.