A look inside Parkview Health’s COVID-19 command center

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A team of Parkview Health medical professionals are operating out of a command center that has been created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Not only is the group helping to manage this health crisis, the operation is also keeping workers at Parkview Mirro Conference and Event Center employed during a time when many people in the community and across the country are being laid off.

Mike Eckroth, the Director of Emergency Management at Parkview, told WANE 15 there had been discussions about creating this command center since January. At that time less than 1,000 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus had been reported worldwide. It officially opened on March 4th, just two days before the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Indiana.

Initially the command center operated out of a small conference room but the group has since expanded and moved twice to accommodate social distancing recommendations. Now, the team of 25 healthcare professionals work out of the Grand Hall inside the Parkview Mirro Center.

The team includes logistics, the infection prevention, clinical leadership and other medical staff, Eckroth said.

“They’re putting together plans, procedures and responses to what needs to happen,” said Eckroth. “We see around the world and around the country [what’s happening] with COVID-19 patients. [They’re looking at] what are those best practices and those lines of efforts that line up toward excellent care for every person every day.”

According to Eckroth the current location allows them to practice social distancing by having the ability to work at least 6 feet apart.

“Obviously with the Covid 19 increasing and the importance of that, they’ve grown as a team,” said Rob Harmon Director of the Mirro Conference and Event Center. “Because of the social distancing we want to make sure they have plenty of space. “

Harmon said they were forced to cancel all scheduled events at least through March. Hosting the command center has allowed him to keep staff members employed, who may have otherwise been without work.

“My staff has been very blessed to be able to support the command center here,” he said. “If the conference center would have been somewhere else, my staff pretty much would have shut down and they’d all be at home right now.”

It’s unclear how long the center will be necessary. In the meantime, healthcare professionals will continue to meet daily, and sometimes more, as they work to combat the pandemic.

“We have had leaders meeting not just daily but hourly sometimes to talk about plans and what best practice looks like,” said Eckroth.

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