North Dakota’s Department of Health just got a new shipment of ventilators, which is one of many essential tools used by healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.
The Department of Health obtained not one, not two — but 50 Hamiltion ventilators to add to the State Medical Cache, which is a stockpile of medical equipment and supplies to help meet the needs and demands during an emergency.
“Ventilatory support during long-scale emergencies is always a major concern and there are a wide variety of emergencies that could utilize ventilatory support like ventilators in order to supplement the hospital system,” said Tim Wiedrich, the Section Chief for Health Resources and Response for NDDoH.
The addition of ventilators to the State Medical Cache is vital, especially for local hospitals like Sanford Health in Bismarck who say they’re continuing to see a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“We are experiencing a spike right now. We’ve seen that develop over the last week or two weeks. We believe we haven’t reached the peak yet, so it’s only going to get worse,” said Dr. Anthony Tello, the ICU Medical Director for Sanford Health.
Dr. Tello says knowing the state has the additional ventilators available is reassuring as there has been a shortage in the past throughout the country.
“We run out of ventilators then we have to look at transporting these patients to other medical institutions where they have a bed and have a ventilator. And that’s becoming more and more difficult. In fact, we’ve had calls from as far away as Texas to accept patients here,” said Tello.
Dr. Tello says the availability of more ventilators gives opportunities to open up more beds for patients.
Supplies in the state medical cache are available to facilities 24/7 and they can request supplies at any time.