Hospitals continue to treat large number of COVID-19 patients despite decreasing number of new cases

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:18 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear said in his Monday COVID-19 update that cases and hospitalizations are going down as more people get vaccinated.

Despite lower positives, healthcare workers say their work is far from over. Officials at hospitals throughout the area say our recent surge was the worst they’d seen since the pandemic began.

“The mortality of this particular surge has been astronomical,” said St. Claire Healthcare CEO Donald Lloyd. “It’s the closest thing to a MASH hospital that you’ll see. We’ve transformed this community hospital into a disaster recovery and management hospital.”

Even though cases have decreased, Lloyd says the number of patients has plateaued rather than declined.

“We have literally entire medical surgical units that are containment areas,” Lloyd said.

St. Claire is still treating about 120 patients. It’s a five percent reduction, but the severity of symptoms has not declined, according to Lloyd.

St. Claire isn’t alone in their battle. Staff at Baptist Health Richmond say there are currently 25 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. At the height of the recent surge, there were 30 patients hospitalized.

“That’s still a lot,” said Baptist Health Richmond Chief Medical Officer Erica Gregonis. “I think from where we’ve been, we’re gonna take any glimmer of hope that we can possibly get.”

Gregonis says half of the current patients are there with COVID.

She says cases are down enough to keep care in designated areas. They previously had to transition parts of the hospital to make more room. Still, Gregonis says many require extended stays.

“Even though we may seeing these numbers come down in the testing centers, we’re still going to have these patients with us for quite some time,” Gregonis said.

Lloyd says St. Claire Healthcare is still using supplementary ICUs.

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