Arizona Edition: YRMC Talks Staff Safety and Face Masks

Jul 8, 2020


While Yuma Regional Medical Center continues to manage an uptick in COVID-19 patient admissions, hospital leadership says it continues to focus on staff safety.  

On KAWC's weekly episode of Arizona Edtion, we asked YRMC CEO and President Dr. Robert Trenschel how it manages to keep staff healthy and safe? He says on-sight transmissions are less concerning than the risk workers face outside the hospital environment.

"Nobody that we can track has tested positive from being in the hospital." or from working in the hospital, Dr. Trenschel clarified. "Everyone has tested positive from their social environment."

80 staff members have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to Dr. Trenschel. "That is all staff, that includes nursing staff, environmental health, everything from landscapers to physicians," he said. 

Part of the reason staff isn't transmitting the virus in the hospital is because personnel are equipped with personal protective gear and observe all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Trenschel said. "Our intent is to not have any more staff get sick."

However, the hospital has had to rely on outside staff throughout the state to keep afloat with the increase in COVID patients.  He says staffing agency prices have dramatically increased. 

"There prices have gone through an exorbitant level, it is pretty ridiculous what they are charging for nursing staff to come into the hospital, but we will pay whatever we need to pay just to get these people in here to help alleviate our staff and help care for more patients," said Dr. Trenschel.  

However, there is a protocol that has been adopted by the state to triage patients when resources are slim, known as the crisis standard of care. "We are not at that point, I don't think any hospital in the state is- yet, he said. 

A way the public can help? Wear a mask, Dr. Trenschel emphasized. 

"I don't enjoy wearing a mask, I don't like it, it's hot and uncomfortable it is all these things," Dr. Trenschell said. " But me wearing a mask protects you, and you wearing a mask protects me."