Justice: Beds being added at Fairmont hospital to handle COVID surge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than three dozen hospital beds are going to be put into use at the Fairmont Regional Medical Center after a surge of COVID-19 patients in north central West Virginia.

“This will enable Fairmont Hospital to care for up to 42 patients and provide the necessary services to meet the needs of COVID patients and others so their care won’t be delayed,” Gov. Jim Justice said during his Thursday media briefing.

Gov. Jim Justice

He said 65 workers would be added at the hospital.

Active COVID-19 counties in Marion, Harrison and Monongalia counties account for nearly 17% of all active cases in the state. Over the last seven days, 873 new COVID-19 cases have been reported by local health departments.

“This requires us to act now, and be prepared in regard to our hospitalization rates,” Justice said. “The recent COVID surge is exceeding in-patient capacity at WVU Hospital and the United Hospital Center in Clarksburg. Many individuals are delaying care because there are no beds available.”

WVU Medicine, which oversees the operations at the Fairmont hospital, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“Yes, we can confirm what the Governor said relative to the expansion at Fairmont, and we appreciate his support of our need to do so. It’s also very accurate to say that ICU bed capacity, as well as general hospital capacity, remains a significant and on-going challenge at Ruby due to COVID-19. We’ve had to defer many non-emergent surgeries to make beds available for COVID-19 patients.”

A partnership between the state and WVU was announced last March that would keep a portion of the original building operational after an earlier announcement from then operator Aletco they planned to close the facility.

“We appreciate WVU Hospital for stepping up and helping us with this important task,” Justice said. “We’re committed to seeing that our healthcare needs are met in this region and the rest of our state.”

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