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COVID-19 update from Bartlett Regional Hospital

October 4, 2021 – News

Crisis Standards of Care Designation

In response to the current statewide surge in COVID-19 cases, Bartlett Regional Hospital is included in a list of health care facilities from the state Division of Public Health activated for crisis standards of care. However, Bartlett is nowhere near re-allocating care for its patients. If the hospital reaches a level where staff is prioritizing care, the designation allows BRH to operate within the crisis standards of care framework.

“Don’t delay your care,” said Chief Nursing Officer Kim McDowell. “Rest assured we stand ready to care for you and serve the healthcare needs of our community.”

“Outpatient elective surgeries continue uninterrupted and surgeries that may require a post-operative stay in the hospital are assessed daily,” said Chief Operating Officer Vlad Toca.

Juneau’s case count continues to be high with five people currently hospitalized with the virus. Recovered patients are also being treated for lingering effects of COVID-19.  “While they’re no longer contagious, they’re still requiring a large amount of resources and specialty care,” said McDowell.


Challenges with transferring patients from rural communities to critical access hospitals was a factor in the state decision. “We know that our colleagues in Anchorage and Seattle are working extremely hard,” said McDowell. Transferring patients can add to already full hospitals. It is possible that a point may be reached where there is no room in traditional destinations for medevacs from Bartlett.

Relief Staff Onboarding

A state contract has provided five nurses to relieve exhausted healthcare providers nationwide through the federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team. They are in Juneau this week and are onboarding in Bartlett’s Medical-Surgical Unit. Additional staff is scheduled to arrive in the coming days and will include OR nurses, surgical techs, and Certified Nurses Assistants. They are part of a group of about 500 sent to Alaska as it has the highest case rate in the nation, with several Anchorage healthcare institutions operating under crisis standards of care.

Community Thank you

“We want to thank our community members for adhering to virus mitigation measures that work: limiting social contacts, wearing a mask when you are around people outside your bubble, and getting vaccinated. If our community continues its strong support of these efforts, I am hopeful we won’t have to be in the position to implement prioritization of care,” said Interim CEO Kathy Callahan.

For more information, contact Bartlett Regional Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Kim McDowell at (907) 796-8310 or  [email protected]