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Health & Science

Akron Children's Prepares for COVID Case Surge as Summit Nears Highest Risk Level

A photo of Akron Children's Hospital main campus
Akron Children's Hospital
Akron Children's Hospital is ready to take on more patients, up to age 35, in the event of an even greater spike of COVID-19 cases.

Akron Children’s Hospital is not at capacity yet but remains on standby in case Summit County reaches level purple on the state’s public health advisory map and cases continue to increase.

The hospital is prepared to care for young adults up to 35 years old who are COVID-19 positive, if there is an emergent need because other hospitals in the area are at capacity, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rob McGregor.

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Dr. Rob McGregor, chief medical officer of Akron Children's Hospital

He says the hospital trained around 400 staff members to treat older patients.

And the hospital is carefully evaluating capacity to convert a large number of beds to negative pressure areas for COVID patients, if necessary. That would prevent recirculation of the air and vent it to the outdoors.

Dr. Rob McGregor: hospital's plan during COVID-19 case surge

“Other than adjusting more areas of the hospital if we’re bringing adults, we’d certainly keep [adults] in a location that's separate from the kids, or at least relatively separate from the kids—one wing of a ward as opposed to the whole floor," McGregor said. "And I think we would have to look at our staffing and make sure we make adjustments so that those that are credentialed to take care of adults are able to be deployed to those areas.”

The hospital also has enough monoclonal antibodies—antibody proteins cloned in a laboratory that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off harmful antigens such as the coronavirus—to provide passive immunity for those most at risk. This is not a prevention of the virus but helps reduce the symptoms during early stages of infection and induce healing.

McGregor also says the hospital has sufficient personal protective equipment for workers. The hospital does not plan to cancel any elective surgeries at this point.