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Mid-Ohio Valley hospitals make plans amid COVID spike

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PARKERSBURG — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues nationwide with increasing number of infections, the local area is also seeing an increase in cases and more demand for medical resources to treat it.

Officials at both WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center and Marietta Memorial Hospital have reported seeing more cases in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Camden Clark Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Christine Daniels said there are spikes in COVID-19 cases locally, regionally and nationally.

“As a result here in the Mid-Ohio Valley we are seeing increased hospitalizations because of this,” she said. “What we’ve experienced and learned over the past eight months has prepared us for this situation and we are monitoring the day-to-day capacity and care of our patients.”

WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center is currently not on diversion status based on capacity but that can change with an influx in cases, Daniels said.

“Last week we experienced this on limited basis and have plans in place to care for all patients who come to us for care,” she said. “Based on the spikes we are all experiencing, it’s likely we will see continued hospitalizations and increases in community infections.

“We have contingency plans in place to address this as well.”

While any department may have the need to divert patients, diversion is primarily related to the Emergency Department and critical service areas. The majority of diversions are due to unavailability of beds. However, nonfunctioning critical equipment, Emergency Department saturation, Operating Room saturation, Critical Care/Telemetry bed saturation, facility structural compromise, disaster and/or insufficient staff may also prompt diversion status.

While on diversion status, the Emergency Department will still accept all patients presenting with critical trauma, ST- Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) — meaning heart attacks, cardiac arrest or stroke for stabilization. Additionally, a patient requests will be honored to come to WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center regardless of diversion status.

The hospital did not release the current number of COVID cases it is handling.

CCMC has continued elective surgical cases and procedures since being reinstated in May 2020, with additional measures and actions to ensure safety and preserve beds.

People throughout the community can still do their part in helping to limit the spread.

“As we continue to improve care and more thoroughly understand the trends in community spread, we appreciate everyone throughout our area doing their part to mask, social distance, frequently wash their hands and minimize group gatherings,” Daniels said.

Jennifer Offenberger, Associate Vice President, Service Excellence-Memorial Health System, said the numbers of COVID cases being seen at Marietta Memorial has continued to rise.

“We continue to monitor our beds and resources and flex availability of those beds daily,” she said. “We currently have the number of beds and resources we need.”

There are currently 31 COVID patients at Marietta Memorial which is about their highest number, Offenberger said.

“Bed counts happen daily throughout the state as well,” she said. “We are part of a morning call to assess needs and resources across the state.”

The officials at Marietta Memorial are also encouraging everyone to take action to reduce the spread.

“We want to protect our resources which include care teams that are helping provide quality, safe care,” Offenberger said. “Our physicians are asking our communities to be diligent now more than ever.

“While we are all feeling COVID fatigue, we have to protect each other by wearing masks, good hygiene, social distancing and avoiding gathering in large crowds. We encourage everyone to rethink large family holiday gatherings.”

In Ohio, there are 310,103 confirmed cases and 5,522 confirmed deaths statewide, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Washington County is listed as having a case count of 363 from Nov. 4 to Nov. 17, according to the Ohio Disease Reporting System (ODRS).

On Thursday morning, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources confirmed a 64-year old male from Wood County died as a result of COVID among 11 people who died statewide.

Overall, there have been 972,894 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 37,399 total cases and 623 deaths statewide, the West Virginia DHHR reported.

They are reporting Wood County had 818 active cases as of Wednesday, down slightly from a high for the last week of 824 on Tuesday.

“As many of us have grown tired of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to stay vigilant in our prevention efforts,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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