Claxton-Hepburn medical director: ’We are stretching people very thin”

WWNY Claxton-Hepburn medical director: ’We are stretching people very thin”

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - One medical director of a north country hospital says it’s tough to keep staff healthy during the pandemic and compares the current situation inside hospitals to what it was like in March.

When the pandemic started, the state ordered hospitals to stop elective surgeries to open up beds for COVID patients. That also freed up other staff members to work on the frontlines.

But now, hospitals are back providing most services, along with treating COVID patients.

Dr. Michael Seidman is chief of medicine at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

He says Claxton-Hepburn doesn’t have a pool of extra medical personnel to call on when nurses and staff get burned out, or when they get quarantined because of COVID exposure.

“That is the major difference right now. We don’t have the reserves and the human resources end of it is what’s stressed out now. Health care workers get exposed, quarantined and this takes them out of the picture. We are stretching people very thin,” he said.

Dr. Seidman says that’s what things are at Claxton-Hepburn - stretched thin, but that the staffing levels at the medical center are manageable.

Out of the 300 active COVID cases in St. Lawrence County, more than half are in the town of Oswegatchie and city of Ogdensburg.

Dr. Seidman says if people can muster through the next 2 or 3 months, he hopes we can see a world beyond COVID.

“This is not the time to throw up your hands and say, ‘What will be will be, things are out of control.’ This is a time for a chance to bring things back under control and we can if people start doing the things that they are suppose to do,” he said.

Those things are: wear a mask; social distance, and don’t go to gatherings.

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