Wyo4News Staff, [email protected]
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (August 13, 2020) — Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board awarded Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County nearly $4.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Grants.
The board met Thursday, Aug. 6 to discuss and award grant applications.
CEO Irene Richardson said the hospital is thankful for the additional grant funding.
“Our No. 1 goal has always been to keep our patients, staff, and community safe. This grant funding will help us tremendously in enhancing our efforts to help manage COVID-19,” she said. “We are truly grateful to Gov. Mark Gordon, his team, the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments, and the SLIB for their careful evaluation and approval of our requests.”
Sweetwater Memorial received full funding for the following:
- UVC lights implemented into the HVAC system, $463,875: This will enhance the ability of the air handling systems to manage and minimize the circulation of airborne pathogens within the building.
- 4 proning beds, $79,000: Proning is the process of turning a patient with precise, safe motions from their back onto their stomach so the patient lies face down. The process benefits COVID-19 patients, those with acute respiratory distress, and other respiratory illnesses.
- Mobile Response Unit, $197,250: MHSC will be able to deploy the 26-foot unit into the community to provide on-site testing for COVID-19 hotspots. A secondary purpose is to provide support, when needed, to the hospital’s first approved 37-foot mobile lab unit.
- Specialty Clinics front entrance remodel, $289,000: The remodel at the main entrance at 1180 College Drive will expand the waiting area for Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Internal Medicine, and soon-to-be-added Neurology Clinic. It is necessary in order to accommodate social distancing as patients wait for their appointments. A small reception desk will be added to the area to help direct patients.
- Analyzer Equipment, $366,000: Two new analyzers for the hospital’s main laboratory will allow on-site SARS-CoV-2 antibodies testing. The testing allows for accurate surveillance of the disease prevalence within a population.
- PAPRs, $77,155: Powered Air-Purifying Respirators include a battery-powered blower that forces positive airflow into the breathing zone of the person wearing it. The grant money will allow MHSC to buy 50 respirators and hoods to protect hospital staff who are at greater risks of aerosolized pathogens causing acute respiratory infections such as COVID-19.
- Sweetwater Walk-In Clinic lab equipment, $311,304: The 3000 College Drive clinic treats non-emergent patients, enabling the emergency room staff to focus on more emergent cases. The ability to quickly diagnose and treat the patient is diminished by the lack of onsite laboratory testing. The lab equipment will give the clinic the ability to quickly diagnose COVID-19, which is imperative in diminishing the spread of the disease and assisting public health in the tracking of the disease.
- HVAC Upgrade Project, up to $2.314 million: This two-phase project includes building and installing a new air handler unit on top of the hospital. It will replace two current systems that are 35- and 45-years-old. Phase two will include building an enclosure around the system. The SLIB has will reimburse all expenses incurred for this project through Dec. 15. The timeline on the project will be based on weather and securing equipment.
This grant funding is in addition to the $1.2 million in grant funding Sweetwater Memorial received from the SLIB last month. That grant money was earmarked to buy a mobile lab, UV robots and laboratory equipment. All Coronavirus Relief Grant funding must be expended by year’s end.
Richardson said the same team who worked on first-round grants, again pulled together the necessary information to make these requests a success. The team includes Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director Tiffany Marshall, Chief Financial Officer Tami Love, Laboratory Director Mary Fischer, Facilities Director Jim Horan, Incident Commander Kim White, Acute Care Services & Emergency Services Director Melissa Anderson, ER & ICU Clinical Coordinator Jessica Van Valkenburg, and Surgical Services Director Alisha Mackie.
The State Loan and Investment Board includes Wyoming’s top five elected officials: Gov. Mark Gordon, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, Auditor Kristi Racines, Treasurer Curt Meier, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. The board gathers Aug. 27 in a special meeting to review more Coronavirus Relief Grants applications. The SLIB’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Oct. 1.
For more information on Sweetwater Memorial and its efforts to reduce COVID-19 exposure, go to sweetwatermemorial.com.