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Wheeling Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison Rebuts City’s Efforts With OVMC

WHEELING — Wheeling Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison on Thursday said he was disappointed in Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott’s efforts to use facilities at the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus during the COVID-19 crisis, noting that Wheeling Hospital officials already determined it not to be feasible.

Harrison added that Wheeling Hospital should be involved with a regional health response planning during this pandemic, noting the city is not including the hospital, WVU Medicine or other regional health care facilities in the process.

Officials with the city of Wheeling and the Wheeling-Ohio County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency walked through the former Ohio Valley Medical Center Thursday to gather needed supplies and assess the facility’s capability to be used for patients in a “worst-case scenario” if the COVID-19 crisis becomes critical in the area.

Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are expected to join city leaders on another tour of the OVMC campus today to see if the recently closed hospital facility can be used as a “regional back-up plan” in the event the spread of the virus increases exponentially in the coming weeks. However, Harrison later in the day issued a statement expressing disappointment in seeing Elliott’s proposal to re-purpose the the vacant OVMC facilities for use as a “regional backup” in the event of a COVID-19 local surge.

Harrison said these efforts to utilize the OVMC campus come after a phone conversation with the mayor, during which Harrison noted the OVMC building probably will not be needed.

“I couldn’t help but notice there was not one mention of Wheeling Hospital nor the other hospitals in the region, such as Sistersville General Hospital, Wetzel County Hospital, WVU Reynolds Memorial Hospital, WVU Barnesville Hospital and Harrison Community Hospital,” Harrison said. “How can the city of Wheeling develop a regional backup plan without talking to the regional hospitals and getting input into what the hospitals already have in place?”

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