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OJC Press Release ID: 3023

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Otero Junior College to Serve as Alternate Care Facility


Otero Junior College has been designated as an Alternate Care Facility (ACF) by the Otero/Crowley Health Department during the current COVID-19 crisis.

According to Richard Ritter, executive director Otero County Health Department, OJC was designated as an ACF to support the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center (AVRMC) if that facility were to become overwhelmed with patients as a result of increasing COVID-19 patients.

“Basically, the way our AFC at Otero Junior College would work is that AVRMC would transfer their non-critical patients to the AFC, where they would get appropriate medical care. This would enable AVRMC to focus on more severe, critically ill patients that need much more attention and care,” explained Ritter.

Ritter said the ACF will have a direct line of communication with AVRMC. Patients will not report directly to the ACF, they will report to AVRMC where they will receive an initial assessment before possible transfer to the ACF.

Ritter stressed in his comments that utilizing the ACF at Otero Junior College is not happening right now.

“This is being planned with an abundance of caution, so that IF the need arises, we are ready to assist our regional hospital to meet the need,” he said.

Earlier this week Otero Junior College President Dr. Timothy Alvarez briefed the OJC faculty, staff and students on the current status of the ACF designation.

“We are working with the Otero Crowley County Health Department to be an Alternate Care Facility for non-critical patients. This would enable AVRMC to focus on much more severe, critically ill patients that need more attention and care,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez explained that the OJC is prepared to offer three on-campus locations:

(1) Life Sciences building (main hub for nursing)
(2) The Wunsch Hall residence facility (patient beds)
(3) McDivitt Center Gymnasium, should the need arise for more space

“We are making a concerted effort to ensure that we can continue to provide services for students who are now taking classes remotely, while being a positive community member to help save the lives of Coloradoans,” stated Alvarez.

According to Ritter, the OJC site has been prepared to accept patients at any time should the need arise.

“The site has been cleaned and readied; medical beds are in place, and we have access to many more beds if the need arises. Start-up supplies have been secured; linens and pillows have been donated; and food service and laundry service is being finalized,” said Ritter.

Ritter expressed his thanks and appreciation to OJC’s staff and community volunteers in helping to prepare the site for use in a short amount of time.

Press Release Photo
Pictured are OJC nursing students working earlier this semester in the Life Science Nursing Lab. Should the need arise, this area has been designated as a part of the Alternate Care Facility (ACF) at OJC by the Otero/Crowley Health Department during the current COVID-19 crisis.