The West Virginia Hospital Association (WVHA) released a statement on Monday on behalf of the clinical leadership of West Virginia’s community hospitals.
WVHA says projections show during the 2021 holiday season that we are approaching the highest number of COVID19 hospitalizations in West Virginia since the pandemic began.
They claim that the vast majority of patients in the ICU and on ventilators are unvaccinated and the national shortage of monoclonal antibodies has greatly restricted access to an effective treatment option.
The combination of other medical conditions and COVID-19 issues has strained the health care system and now after nearly two years, the system is nearing a breaking point as health care workers are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted, says WVHA.
WVHA asks West Virginias to recognize the following:
- Hospitals are operating at contingency and crisis levels of care, which means waiting times are longer and staffing shortages are now the norm, impacting the availability of timely care.
- This situation is a result of our ongoing pandemic response, the serious illness of nonCOVID-19 patients, national supply chain issues limiting access to effective treatments, the increased length of stay of all patients, and the resulting high number of patients in West Virginia hospitals
- Just as hospitals’ care teams have been working at capacity, our emergency medical services (EMS) and other care sites are also stressed and overworked. There may be times when capacity in the system is not adequate to accommodate the usual response and speed of transport. Also, at times patients are having to be transferred to out of state hospitals due to lack of capacity in West Virginia
- As the pressure on hospitals and EMS increases further, we risk facing increasing delays and challenges in accessing care for everyone who needs emergency services and inpatient hospital care.
WVHA asks all of West Virginia to do the following:
- If you are not already, get fully vaccinated. Find a location for vaccination at vaccine.gov
- If you are vaccinated, get your booster, which is approved for everyone ages 16 and older.
- Carefully consider where you seek health care. A primary care office, virtual health carevisit, or urgent care may be the best site of care and reduces demand on limited hospital and emergency departments’ staff.
- Don’t delay routine medical care, physicals, and screenings. Address small problems before they become serious ones.
- Donate blood
- Recognize that hospital and EMS staff are shorthanded and under extreme pressure.
- Practice physical distance at indoor events and gatherings, including the use of face masks and other protection.
If you would like to read the statement in full, click here.