YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – New figures coming out from the Ohio Department of Health suggest local hospitals in the region are filling up, but one local expert says it is not keeping new patients from being treated.
“This is a very fluid situation that changes by the minute and by the hour,” aid Mercy Health Chief Clinical Officer Chief Dr. James Kravec.
Kravec confirms what many have thought for some time, hospitals in the Mahoning Valley are extremely busy right now. It is something we got a glimpse of yesterday from Lisa Burich. She is a an emergency room nurse with St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown. Her comments were made during Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s coronavirus briefing.
“It’s all hands on deck. So, we are all pitching in. We are all dealing with it here,” Burich said.
First News obtained information Tuesday from the Ohio Department of Health indicating at one point late last week, both Saint Elizabeth and St. Joseph Hospital in Warren were out of available ICU beds, while others in the area had a handful left.
They all still had beds for medical and surgical patients but Kravec stresses that the numbers represent a snapshot in time.
“That number changes the minute it is turned in because we have to take care of patients and some patients, as they recover, leave the ICU and other new patients are brought in,” he said.
Kravec said that as patient counts change, administrators will shift staff to meet the needs, and hospitals throughout the region are working with each other in case numbers rise to a level where patients have to be transferred.
“Those structures are in place. And that’s not just true for Mercy Health Youngstown, but that is true for all the hospitals in Northern Ohio,” Kravec said.
For now, Kravec says hospitals in the Valley are focused on treating the patients they have in-house but at the same time, he warns the rest of us need to take responsibility for keeping those numbers at manageable levels..
“It will save room in the hospitals for those that are the sickest. I can’t stress that enough,” Kravec said.