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Monitoring hospital bed availability

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 5:12 PM EST
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - With hospital beds filling up across the state, officials have a watchful eye on availability. We’re seeing the trouble firsthand in the north country and that includes at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

“People are dying. People are dying...You can’t pretend this isn’t going on because it is and the numbers are high,” said Michael Seidman, Claxton-Hepburn medical director.

Earlier this week, 98 percent of acute patient beds were filled at Claxton-Hepburn. The ICU was operating at 90 percent capacity. The hospital is reacting with daily meetings on how to deal with what comes next. Officials feel they’re ready.

“We have the ability to open more ICU beds. We have the ability to open more staffed beds. And we have plans to staff those beds when they come,” said Seidman.

Hospitals are, in fact, dealing with two surges. One is caused by COVID-19. The other by patients returning to hospitals after a year of staying away. But with COVID-19, it doesn’t have to be this way.

“The vast majority of people who are hospitalized, who end up on ventilators and who die are not vaccinated,” said Seidman.

Doctors like Seidman are trying to convince their patients: ‘Get the shot.’ It’s not an easy task.

“Patients who have had COVID twice, I have a few people like that, who have been very ill and who still have ongoing disabilities, who are still vaccine hesitant,” said Seidman.

The ICU at Claxton-Hepburn has surged toward maximum capacity more than once. But so far, the hospital has not had to implement its full-on surge plan. But it’s ready.

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