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Wait list at Ruby as COVID cases continue to have impact

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A report from WVU Medicine officials says 40% of all coronavirus patients in the state are in a WVU Medicine facility.

In Morgantown, Ruby Memorial Hospital reports 119 coronavirus patients with no beds available. The staff at Ruby Memorial Hospital started a wait list Friday afternoon. Data from the hospital shows 61 of 71 available ventilators in use.

Last week, WVU Medicine officials announced they were operating in “crisis care” mode. Planned procedures have been placed on hold and some alternate accommodations are being made in departments where patients are waiting for treatment.

Residents who have minor to moderate medical needs are asked to go to urgent care centers before reporting to an emergency room with an injury. People who believe they are suffering from a heart attack or stroke should come to an emergency room.

Albert Wright
Photo/WVU Medicine

Saturday’s coronavirus report from the state DHHR said 977 people are hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, 285 have been admitted to the ICU and 193 are on ventilators. The percentage of unvaccinated people in the hospital is just over 80%. Data shows the number of unvaccinated people on ventilators is near 90-percent.

“Those numbers are scary and they tell the story,” WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright said during a recent appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “It’s a very challenging time for folks.”

At Mon Health, CEO David Goldberg has been working with state leaders and DataRobot to get a glimpse into the future by using artificial intelligence.

“We still expect to get to about mid-October,” Goldberg said. “We think we’re going to see this surge last until the second week of October, then come down slightly.”

Mon Health is also in crisis mode, and Goldberg explained how that works on the floor of a care facility.

“A procedure that might need a bed and it isn’t life threatening, emergent or urgent,” Goldberg said. “We’re having that conversation, doctor to patient to say we’re going to need to put this off a week or two to keep capacity open at the hospital for those who are very sick.”

While hospitals retreat into crisis mode around the state it’s the balance sheets for these institutions that struggle. Last week the governor unveiled the Save Our Care program designed to help hospitals get through this surge. State government has more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief money for situations like this.

David Goldberg

“I think the governor is looking at this responsibly and saying what can we do to help shore up staffing, what can we do to shore up supplies, what can we do to make to make sure our hospitals, our doctors offices and nursing homes are open and operational for the patients who need it,” Goldberg said.

As the hospital surge inches up daily Goldberg, like other health officials, believes the vaccine will ease the surge and save lives.

“At Mon Health Medical Center about 95-percent of the people coming in that are hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated,” Goldberg said. “What we’re seeing with the Delta variant is people are getting sicker with this presentation than early on when did not have a vaccine.”

Vaccine resistance is till a major issue in getting the remaining percentage of the population vaccinated. The Friday report from the DHHR raises the number fully vaccinated people to 834,259.

“We’re dealing with an international pandemic related to COVID. New strains keep coming, just like new strains of the flu come,” Goldberg said. “Getting the vaccine gives extra protection at a time when it is evolving and mutating so fast. I strongly think it’s the right thing to do.”

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