COVID-19 hospitalizations exceed record at Reid Health
The increasing number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is keeping the hospital at "critical" bed status, and health officials fear Reid Health will have to cut back on services if the trend continues.
"We are asking
everyone to please, please not ignore masking, distancing and other safety
measures," said Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at Reid
Health. The health system Friday set a new, ominous record when it listed 68
patients in COVID containment areas. That number surpasses the highest number
of 64 that happened early in the pandemic, Dr. Huth said. And with cases
continuing to go up, he expects the number will increase. A record number of daily
COVID admissions - 20 - was a factor in an overall record one-day admissions number
of 63 patients on Thursday.
All the data
underscores the serious impact COVID is having on the community and the health
system. "It's vital for everyone to do their part in trying to turn this
increase around," he said. "Lives really do depend on it. So take precautions. Do
it for your family. Do it for our staff who are the heroes caring for these
system has posted statistics almost daily since the pandemic began hitting the
area in March. The number had peaked at 64 in April, and dropped as low as 11
in July before an upward trend began in August and again in October. Wayne
County posted more COVID-19 deaths in October than had happened since the
recently tightened its visitor restrictions implemented early in the pandemic,
with the changes including allowing non-COVID patients only one designated
visitor per day.
Dr. Huth said
the hospital has already had to take some additional steps to deal with its
continuing shortage of available beds, including moving some non-COVID patients
to temporary areas. If the number of admissions continue to increase, the health
system may be faced with ceasing elective surgeries or even having to divert
patients to other facilities - something that would be considered extremely
rare. And many other regional health systems are facing a similar uptick in
COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.
"We are clearly
in another wave, so mitigation steps have never been more important. Wear the
mask. They are proven effective in reducing the spread of COVID. And remember
that a mask is more about keeping you from making someone else sick, though it
does help protect you as well," Dr. Huth said. "Stay home when you are sick. Wash your hands.
Practice social distancing."
The latest wave
is having the most detrimental impact on higher-risk older people, he said.
He's also seen research that indicates younger people who don't get sick but
still carry the virus are a major factor in spreading the disease to the more
long-term care facilities, where the residents are not going into the
community, are getting the virus from the people who are out and about. "If you
are a young person who isn't afraid of getting sick, please think about the
most vulnerable in the community whose very lives could be put at risk if you
unknowingly carry the infection to them."