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Augusta Health dealing with highest COVID-19 surge to date

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 3:47 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Augusta Health is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and says it only expects it to get worse.

This rise is putting a strain on the hospital’s resources and staff.

“We’ve been extremely busy due to the covid surge, especially with delta variant. Our inpatient census has jumped from single digits four to five weeks ago to up to as high as 67. I think currently it’s at 56,” Augusta Health Assistant Vice President of Professional Services Scott Crabtree said.

Augusta Health has had to open up additional ICU space to care for COVID-19 patients, and says the positivity rate has never been this high.

“Our last highest point was in December. We were about 23%, in the month of August, we were at that and last week was actually our highest point since the beginning of the pandemic and that’s a 28,” Crabtree said.

The numbers aren’t expected to go down anytime soon.

“We’ve heard that inpatient census could be as high as over 100. We know what it’s like staffing for 60 and 67, so that is definitely going to put an additional strain on our health system,” Crabtree said.

Augusta Health says most of the COVID-19 patients it sees are unvaccinated.

“Roughly, about 80%. We have seen about 20% of our inpatient population be vaccinated. Of note, what’s really important is that the patients that do get admitted with covid, who have been vaccinated generally are not quite as ill, and do not require ICU-level of care,” Crabtree said.

“We’ve been through surges before, we’ve seen these high case numbers before, so this is not new during the course of this pandemic. But what I would say is the most different is that now we have a vaccine, a safe and effective vaccine, that’s really wonderful for preventing serious illness and death,” Central Shenandoah Health District Communications Specialists Jordan Shelton said.

Augusta Health says it is pulling staff from other areas of the hospital in order to care for the influx of patients.

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