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Hospitals evaluating resources after COVID-19 discussion

PARKERSBURG — Officials at area hospitals are continuing to evaluate services as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to increase locally.

Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday elective surgeries will be limited due to shrinking bed capacity at state hospitals due to the rise in cases of COVID-19.

After consulting with hospital leaders around the state and the West Virginia Hospital Association, Justice announced the measure after officials were becoming more concerned that hospitals might become overrun.

State and hospital leaders are allowing elective surgeries that do not require an overnight stay. The hope is to make more beds available for patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Officials at both WVU Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg and Marietta Memorial Hospital in Marietta are continuing to look at their services and where the needs are.

Officials at Camden Clark have a surge plan in place that includes a proactive approach to managing elective surgeries. CCMC Marketing Director Roger Lockhart said he would have additional information about what Camden Clark is doing today.

Memorial Health System continues to see an increase in COVID patients and currently has 58 in Marietta Memorial Hospital, said Jennifer Offenberger, Associate Vice President, Service Excellence with Memorial Health System.

“In fact we have in the last several days supported the care of patients from other local hospitals who were not accepting patients for periods of time,” she said. “We have three COVID units open.

“We do not have a surgery mandate at this time but are meeting twice a day to evaluate appropriate surgeries and capacity.”

In regards to surgeries, Offenberger said they have an obligation to the community to meet the health needs of their patients.

“As we meet regularly to assess resources we have been able to manage most surgical cases,” she said. “However as we assess we look at patient need and impact on their health as we decide if surgery is necessary now or can be safely moved.”

Other hospitals have had to divert patients to them at different times.

“The health system across the river has had to go on diversion five times,” Offenberger said. “We have been fortunate in not having to do this and in fact have accepted patients from them and other surrounding hospitals as well.”

Memorial is also evaluating its resources and capabilities throughout the day to shift as needed.

“Like others we have team members who are personally impacted by COVID,” Offenberger said. “Our teams are working hard, they are working long hours, and doing all they can to keep our patients and community safe. We are proud of and appreciate them.”

Officials with Memorial Health Systems are encouraging people to continue to socially distance and to do their part by wearing masks.

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