Petersburg’s Hospital Board will hold its monthly meeting in the Assembly Chambers of the municipal building this evening at 5:30 p.m. The board is scheduled to look over reports from the hospital pharmacy, rehab, and infection prevention departments.  

As KFSK’s Shelby Herbert reports, hospital staff are gearing up for seasonal flu and respiratory illness.   

We’re entering the season of all the coziest smells — soft rains on the muskeg, woodsmoke, pumpkin spice lattes. Unfortunately, fall isn’t the only thing in the air right now. 

Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Bryner will report for the hospital’s Infection Prevention Department tonight. She says they’re gearing up for influenza and respiratory illness. 

In the coming weeks, PMC will work with the Public Health Center to distribute respiratory vaccines. But the new flu shot is already available. The CDC recommends that everybody get their flu shot by the end of October — that’s because cases tend to spike in the fall and winter.

Bryner’s department is also expecting to get new vaccines for COVID-19 and RSV soon. This will be the first time they’ll be able to vaccinate for RSV — an illness that’s dangerous to infants and the elderly.

Over at the hospital’s Pharmacy Department, things are looking a bit more lean. They’re struggling to stay completely stocked. Drug Room Coordinator Elise Kubo reports staff are dealing with shortages of certain medications. But, she says, the department is sufficiently stocked with all the medications they need for routine and emergency treatment.  

In the rehab department, staff are dealing with an acute shortage of space. Department Manager Kaitlin DuRoss reports that staff are forced to work in the main hallways, the community gym, and even the hospital parking lot. She says they’d like to bring in some new equipment to improve patient care. But they can’t, due to limited room. 

With the current facility quickly falling out of code, hospital administrators are laying the groundwork for a new building. Tonight, PMC CEO Phil Hofstetter will report on the progress of the replacement hospital project. The comprehensive NEPA Environmental Study of the site is complete, and the Borough Planning Commission has approved the final replat for the new building. 

Hofstetter also says he’s concerned about rising instances of fentanyl abuse throughout the community. He’s organizing a meeting with EMS, the Public Health Center, and local law enforcement to gain a clearer understanding of the problem.

After these reports, the board will go into an executive session — closed to the public — to review hospital staff appointments and legal matters. 

KFSK will broadcast that meeting live and post the recording in our Hospital Board Archive. Anyone from the community can join the meeting in person, by phone, or on Zoom. There’s more information on KFSK’s community calendar.