Tuesday, Dec. 06, 2022|
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COVID-19 cases are low for Hawaii County, but Hilo Medical Center remains impacted due to overcrowding.
“The grand total of patients coming to us is quite difficult to handle most of the time,” said HMC spokesperson Elena Cabatu. “We don’t have any holds in the (Emergency Room), but we do have about 13 patients in overflow areas.”
There are currently seven COVID-19 patients hospitalized at HMC, a number that Cabatu described as “manageable.” Of those seven, two are in the ICU, a number slightly above average.
“That’s a little bit above what we usually have,” she said. “We either have one or none in the ICU, but this might just be the course of the disease process.”
A majority of patients at HMC are experiencing non-COVID related issues.
“In terms of the high census that we have with non-COVID patients, that’s been causing us to be over capacity,” said Cabatu. “It’s just about managing.”
Over the weekend, patients in overflow areas could be transferred back down to the ER to adjust for staffing concerns.
“Fortunately, we have staff to open those overflow areas,” said Cabatu. “But we’re not sure if we’re going to have staffing for those areas going into the weekend. Those patients in the overflow areas might have to go back down to the ER.”
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention altered its map to list all four major Hawaii counties within the green, low community transmission level for COVID-19.
Community levels are based on case rates per 100,000 people, in addition to hospital admission and bed rates for COVID patients.
“We are delighted case counts have decreased for eight consecutive weeks,” said Department of Health spokesperson Brooks Baehr. “We are certainly trending in the right direction.”
The DOH listed the 7-day average daily cases for Hawaii County at just 16 this week, down from 18 listed the week before.
The CDC still recommends those within the green community levels to stay up to date on vaccinations, work on improving ventilation, avoid contact with those suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and practice isolation recommendations such as staying home for at least 5 days following a positive test.
Cabatu also said those throughout the community can help with the influx of HMC patients by staying up to date on vaccinations and other medical appointments.
“I’d like to encourage the community to check in with their doctor, get that appointment scheduled, and stick to that appointment,” she said. “We’ve all got to keep up and manage our health, and it’s very important at this juncture in terms of having such high hospitalizations here and very little room in the hospital.”
The new bivalent vaccines have arrived in Hawaii County and information on where to receive them can be found at hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine/
“These boosters are the first COVID-19 vaccines specially formulated to protect against the most common strains of the Omicron variant,” said Baehr. “We recommend bivalent boosters for people 12 and older who have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations.”
The bivalent boosters are available for those two months following their primary vaccination series.
“We’re trying our very best to keep beds open, but we have gone through several months now of being above capacity,” said Cabatu. “The healthier we all can be collectively, the better it is for all of us.”
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