515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
(716) 373-2600

Olean General Hospital


April 14 COVID update

Posted on: 04/14/2020

Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital today released the following updates and reminders regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

CONFIRMED CASES – The Cattaraugus County Department of Healthy confirmed 26 positive COVID-19 cases. The McKean County Department of Health reports four positive cases. The lack of testing kits throughout the U.S. continues to be an issue and therefore, the lack of confirmed cases probably isn’t a true measure of COVID-19 activity in our communities. Therefore, it is important for our patients and residents to practice social distancing, stay home, practice good hand hygiene, etc., to prevent the spread of this virus, according to William Mills, MD, chief medical officer, UAHS.

Inpatient cases (4/14/20) –
OGH – 3 COVID positive (2 med/surg; 1 ICU); 2 patients under investigation (PUI)
BRMC - 0 COVID positive; 1 patient under investigation

BRMC/OGH WELL PREPARED - Our hospitals continue to be prepared for a potential surge in patients. However, inpatient, emergency department, and physician network volumes remain well below normal operating volumes, according to Jeff Zewe, RN, president, chief executive officer, UAHS, BRMC, OGH, said.

NEW TESTING SITE IN ALLEGANY – The Cattaraugus Department of Health established a testing center in Allegany as a method to improve efficiencies for the county personnel collecting COVID tests. As the Department of Health previously announced, this site is only being used for testing that has been approved and scheduled by the Department of Health. This site will allow to county to refine its processes if and when testing becomes widely available. At this time, there is still no on demand testing. All testing is done on people with symptoms suggestive of COVID infection and on the order of a physician with approval by the Department of Health, according to Dr. Mills.

CLEANING MACHINES (photo attached) – In the wake of the COVID pandemic, BRMC and OGH’s environmental services team has gone above and beyond in helping to protect staff and patients. In addition to performing additional critical disinfecting of all high touch surfaces throughout the entire hospitals, OGH and BRMC have an extra weapon for killing the virus –the Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System. Introduced four years ago at both hospitals, these six-foot tall germ-killing “robots” use ultraviolet light to neutralize persistent infection-causing pathogens such as Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) and MRSA from patient rooms. They are now being used to fight COVID-19.

“We’ve increased the cleaning frequency of high touch surfaces and run both robots around the clock to disinfect all isolation rooms, patient rooms, restrooms, break rooms and many other areas of the hospital to keep patients safe,” said Branden Balkovic, director, environmental services, OGH. “Our staff has risen to the occasion and embraced the challenges that this pandemic has presented. The entire team is committed to protecting all patients, co-workers and community members from COVID-19.”

“Cleanliness has always been a very high priority for our hospitals. The UV system is an additional level of reassurance that we are doing our best to kill pathogens. During this COVID crisis, our EVS staff continue their exemplary work and exceed expectations to keep our hospitals clean for the safety of our staff and patients,” Zewe said.

COVID DRILLS – Olean General Hospital held a COVID exercise at the Mildred Milliman Outpatient Surgery Center recently to prepare for a potential surge in patients. Also participating were Brian Walters, MD, medical director, Cattaraugus County EMS; Chris Baker, director, Cattaraugus County Emergency Services; Robert Kuhn, coordinator, Cattaraugus County EMS; Trans AM and the Olean City Fire Department.

BRMC – Jill Owens, MD, reviewed COVID-19 protocols with nursing, respiratory, infection control, and emergency department staff in preparation for the surge plan at BRMC.

ANTIBODY TESTING – There has been a lot of talk about antibody tests. In response to viral infections, our bodies make antibodies directed at the virus. The first antibody out is IgM which shows up while you are sick, the protective antibody (IgG) shows up after you are recovering and typically provides you immunity (meaning you won’t get sick from that virus again.) Most of us have IgG antibodies against the chicken pox virus which is the reason you only get chicken pox once. There are many labs out there working on these antibody tests because if you get tested and are IgG positive, you have been exposed to the disease and either recovered or had a very mild illness and are now immune. That’s important because if you are immune, you could actually go outside without a mask and not get sick if you were exposed to this virus. Well there is a do-it-yourself at home kit that is in final testing. This will be based upon a color change when you add a drop of blood to it. Once available, this will help tremendously as we begin to rebuild our world, according to Dr. Mills.

ON A POSITIVE NOTE – Our community has shown our hospitals a lot of love and kindness through this pandemic. Groups are making homemade face masks and donating PPE, people have had food delivered from area restaurants to our front line staff and local companies are producing face shields on 3-D printers.

COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND – The Bradford Hospital Foundation and Olean General Hospital Foundation have established COVID-19 Response Funds. Donations to this fund will be used to directly support our front line staff as we face this pandemic. Funds raised will stay with each respective hospital. For more information, or to make a donation, contact the BH Foundation, 814/362-3200,, or the OGH Foundation, 716/375-7445, The hospitals are also accepting PPE donations for hospital use which can be delivered at the main entrances between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Note: Olean General Hospital and Bradford Regional Medical Center will not share personal information about patients tested, treated or admitted for COVID-19 in order to protect their privacy as required by federal law.

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