Bed capacity challenged: Princeton Community Hospital ICU filled as virus cases rise | News

PRINCETON – Princeton Community Hospital is again at a point of no more beds as the number of COVID cases rises.

“We still have to keep or relocate patients in the emergency room,” said PCH boss Karen Bowling on Thursday. “Both intensive care units are full of the majority of these patients COVID patients … At the moment we have well over 35 COVID patients.”

That number had fallen to the low 20s but has recently risen again.

“What we’ve seen since Thanksgiving, which we expected a little at holiday gatherings, is a steady upward trend,” she said. “We don’t assume that this will decrease with more holiday events. We could very well be back to the 40s. “

The worst time for the hospital was in early January when the number of patients reached over 50 and then rose again during the delta rise in September.

“We are concerned about the number of people in Mercer County and the surrounding counties who have not been vaccinated or have not received a booster,” she said. “We’re still only the Delta variant, but others can come. It is inevitable that it will be (Omicron) in West Virginia. “

Hospitals could again be “overwhelmed” with COVID patients, she said, as the staff continue to do “enormous” work.

“It is amazing what they do every day to take care of the community,” she said, adding that COVID patients who are not in intensive care may be due to the common respiratory problems that accompany the virus still need additional care.

“That’s a very scary thing when you are the patient,” she said. “It’s like you can’t catch your breath.”

Much of this can be prevented with vaccinations, and this is where the community can help, especially with any further rise on the horizon.

“We need our community to do their part and strengthen ourselves through vaccination,” said Bowling, which will ultimately lead to fewer COVID patients in hospitals and more beds for patients suffering from a heart attack, COPD or heart failure Have to be hospitalized for failure or other illnesses.

Everyone is getting the help they need, but Bowling said the “health system rush” here and across the country has continued and has not fully subsided since the pandemic began.

“We have to do what we have to do to take care of every patient,” she said. “We take care of them.”

That is why she praises the PCH staff so much, and that is why traveling sisters must also be involved, as staffing is a constant issue.

Bowling said that hospitals in smaller communities usually have staff who do not want to leave their homes for potentially higher-paying jobs elsewhere, and some who leave will return.

“The people here are very family-oriented,” she says. “You enjoy taking care of family and friends… We have a very loyal workforce. You are very committed to this community and to the patients who come here … That is invaluable. “

Staffing is an issue everywhere, she said, and it was raised by retired Maj. Gen. James Hoyer during Governor Jim Justice’s pandemic briefing on Thursday.

Hoyer, director of the state’s Joint InterAgency Task Force, said staffing is not an “easy-to-fix” problem and hospitals are being challenged as an increase appears more likely.

Several indicators are in place, he said, including the transmission rate or RT value, which is now 1.09 and rising, with 1.0 being the threshold for any spike to start.

Hospital admissions across the state also continue to rise, reaching more than 600 COVID patients on Thursday, including 208 in intensive care units and 126 on ventilators.

Hoyer said the daily average in hospital admissions is also trending upwards, and every time it rises above 60, “we know that this puts our hospitals in a disadvantageous position.”

On Wednesday that number had risen to 82.

In addition, three consecutive holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) and colder weather are driving people indoors, and this poses a risk of spread, especially to those who have not been vaccinated, have not received a booster and are suffering from health problems .

Flu cases are also increasing across the state, he added, and all of this has prompted the task force to conduct a “table exercise,” which is an opportunity for all agencies and organizations to come together and come up with plans to look at. which will help alleviate challenges “we see coming into our hospitals”.

The judiciary said the state was “ready to do whatever we need to” to help the hospitals.

“It’s a constant topic of discussion,” he said, and that includes the continuation of the recent Save Our Care program, which gave hospitals additional funding, for example to pay for the traveling nurses they need. “We’re looking. We’re on top.”

Justice also reiterated the importance of vaccinations, especially booster shots, citing an announcement by Pfizer that laboratory tests showed that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was increased by 25 times the antibody levels of people who were in the Are able to fend off the Omicron variant.

“Right now there can’t be anything more important in your life than getting a booster,” he said. “What on earth are you waiting for? There is no question that you have to get your booster shot now. “

– Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]

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