‘You might not get the care that you need’: COVID-19 rise results in shortage of available hospital beds

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – “You might not get the care that you need at the time that you need it.”

The alarming rise in COVID-19 cases is hurting more than just people who have the virus. Hospitals face another imposing challenge: a shortage of open beds for their patients.

“There’s a static situation,” said Plateau Medical Center Chief of Staff Dr. Scott Keffer. “We just can’t get the patients moving in the right direction.”

Plateau Medical Center has been dealing with a scarcity of beds for the last month. Health Officials are saying the shortage is now putting non-COVID patients in perilous situations.

“We’re seeing increased ER wait times, more people left without being treated,” said Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart. “Just because things are really clogged up and backed up.”

A concerning trend that Stewart and Keffer are noticing is that the shortage isn’t due to the number of beds. It’s because of hospital staffs needing to treat more patients than they can handle.

“It somewhat takes us out of our comfort zone,” Keffer said. “But, it also puts patients at risk.”

One small step to fixing the shortage is for those who are getting tested for COVID-19, but are asymptomatic, to go somewhere besides hospitals and urgent care centers.

“Please don’t take those services away from people that really need those services that are ill,” Stewart said.

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