Grinnellian Covid Experiences - Michelle Raymer Joy ’96

“We wear face masks everywhere in the building.”

June 24, 2020 — Michelle Raymer Joy ’96 is vice president and chief operating officer of Carson Tahoe Health System in Carson City, Nevada. Carson Tahoe Health is a not-for-profit health care system consisting of two hospitals, two urgent cares, an emergent care center, outpatient services, and a clinic provider network.

Michelle Raymer Joy ’96
    Michelle Raymer Joy ’96

A typical workday in the office now is a temperature check, screening questions, and use of hand sanitizers in order to enter the building. We wear face masks everywhere in the building and in all meetings with more than two people.

More than 75% of the day is spent on COVID-19-related items. We have spent a tremendous amount of time on surge planning for a potential influx of patients, increasing our bed capacity from 181 beds to 481 beds. This includes making sure we have enough staff, physicians, ventilators, other equipment, and PPE [personal protective equipment] to take care of this influx of patients.

As we have closed elective surgeries and other non-emergent services, we have redeployed staff and are retraining others to new areas to help with a surge in patients. There has been a tremendous amount of detail in the surge plan, including where do COVID-19 patients get placed, where do non-COVID-19 patients get placed, what about emergent surgeries and deliveries, how do we increase our traditional ventilator capacity from 22 to 60, what is the morgue capacity, how do we implement crisis care standards, and how do we take care of staff now and during a surge.

Health care is a calling. Everyone continues to show up each day willing to do whatever is needed. Our frontline employees and first responders are true heroes.

Read more stories about Grinnellians facing COVID-19 head-on.