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Benson Hospital Director of Nursing Velma Cooper explains the features in one of the hospital's recently renovated rooms to Sally Holcomb.

BENSON — In April, Benson Hospital began seeing the first patients in the emergency room who tested positive for the virus. The hospital has managed to deal successfully through the rise and wanes of the COVID–19 virus for the past eight months.

According to Ashley Dickey, Human Resources and Marketing executive director, the small hospital has made adjustments to ensure limiting exposure to the virus via screening all who enter and immediately moving people who are symptomatic to isolated beds.

With the rise of county cases at the beginning of the month, the hospital is prepared for what may come from another surge in January.

“An inpatient surge plan in place in case we need to increase the number of beds available,” Dickey stated in an email.

Benson Hospital saw a 300% increase of COVID–19 patients from the last week of November to the first week of December.

“We have seen some delays in transferring patients in the recent weeks. We have used the surge line and have been able to successfully place all patients in need of an ICU bed,” added Dickey. ”No delays currently seen in the transporting of patients.”

As for visitors, she said the hospital officials “continue to adapt our visitor policies to match the needs of our community. We are currently not allowing any visitors to the hospital with exception of the one guardian with pediatric patients in the Emergency Department and we do make arrangements for end of life situations. We also have allowed window visitations for our inpatients.”

Staffers were infected by the virus, but she could not give a number due to privacy concerns. Staff turnover has remained low and has stepped up to handle any challenges and all the changes.

Hospital staff began inoculations on Dec. 23 and all staff should be vaccinated by the end of next week.

The hospital received 170 doses of the Moderna vaccine so far.

Dickey said Benson Hospital will be a vaccine site for public inoculations as soon as vaccines for the different groups are made available.