- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - It could be several months before the public cafeteria reopens at Kearney’s Good Samaritan Hospital, which was inundated by floodwater that overwhelmed the city’s storm sewer system this past weekend.

Around 4 inches of rain Friday night turned into a torrent that funneled down into the lowest level of the hospital early Saturday morning, damaging the kitchen, cafe and other areas. No patients or employees were injured.

Hospital spokeswoman Marsha Wilkerson said Wednesday that the kitchen provided food for the public Central Cafe and for patient meals.

“It may be as long as four to six months before we reopen it,” Wilkerson said of the cafe. The kitchen and cafe walls must be taken down to the studs for repairs, she said, and some equipment must be replaced.

Water also flooded parts of the hospital’s Healthy Living Center. Larry Surmeier, hospital director of facilities management, said the water naturally receded through floor drains throughout the lower level.

Wilkerson said she hasn’t yet seen a cost estimate for replacing equipment and all the repairs.

Full food service to patients was restored by Saturday evening, thanks to a temporary kitchen that’s been set up and aid from other Catholic Health Initiative facilities, including the Richard Young Behavioral Health Center in Kearney, which provides inpatient and outpatient mental health services.

“We have sister Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals all over the state, and they are pitching in,” Wilkerson told the Kearney Hub. “They are helping with a plan and making resources available.”

The hospital had an average of 150 patients all weekend, Wilkerson said. The hospital resumed its full schedule of surgeries on Monday.