ICU Beds Filling Up Ahead Of The Holidays

Erie News Now Image.

ERIE (Erie News Now) – With Christmas just ten days away, hospitals are concerned that we could see surge before we even gather with family or friends especially with ICU beds already filling up.

Around this time last year, Erie was celebrating a major milestone in the fight against Covid-19.

“I’ll never forget the day the vaccines arrived and we subsequently started administering them”, said Dr. Chris Clark, President of AHN Saint Vincent.

But just twelve months later, it’s a much different story.

“We know Erie County has remained some of the highest positivity rates even across the country and our concerns is that going into the holidays we are going to have a lot of spread with any type of gatherings. Yes we are definitely concerned and are watching for that post holiday surge”, said Emily Shears, Director of Operations at UPMC Hamot.

Shears said that UPMC Hamot currently is treating a dozen patients in the infectious period with Covid-19.

Shears said while it may be discouraging that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, vaccines have helped prevent serious cases of Covid-19.

“Our current surge would be much, much more critical and even worse than last year we didn’t have vaccines and if we didn’t have effective treatment like monoclonal antibodies”, said Shears.

Dr. Chris Clark of AHN Saint Vincent agrees, the vaccines have been a huge help in preventing hospitalizations, but that hasn’t stopped AHN Saint Vincent from handling high case volumes in recent months.

“38 percent of out total Covid patients admitted since this all started has been admitted since September of this year”, said Dr. Clark.

He said that the average amount of Covid-19 patients admitted this month is higher than where we stood a year ago, which is alarming. He said currently at AHN Saint Vincent, they have 56 total patients being treated for Covid-19 and five of them are on ventilators.

“I can’t wait until this current spike comes to and end and at some point we will peak, if we haven’t peaked already and see a decline”, said Dr. Clark.

Both health officials shared that being fully vaccinated is the key to preventing severe cases of covid-19. That booster shot could be a the difference between a severe and mild cases.


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