St. Lawrence County hospitals now seeing younger COVID patients

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 5:14 PM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - When it comes to patients going into St. Lawrence County hospitals for COVID treatment, the population is getting younger.

St. Lawrence Health System President David Acker says the system’s hospitals, Canton-Potsdam, Gouverneur and Massena, are admitting COVID positive patients at rapid rates and the age of those patients worries him.

“Probably 40 percent of the people here are under 60, which is the exact opposite of what we saw in the December 2020 surge,” he said.

As numbers continue to climb, staffing shortages across the board have made it difficult to catch up.

“We want to explain to them that that there are going to be delays because all resources are being funneled to the COVID patients,” said Acker.

As of Thursday, 86 percent of acute staffed beds at Canton-Potsdam Hospital are full, 76 percent at Massena Hospital and 64 percent at Gouverneur Hospital.

Driving those numbers down is a problem, especially with some nursing home patients, who have had to remain in the hospital well past their COVID recovery.

“It’s not, hey, we got a discharge, can we get them out tomorrow? It’s not that way because those same limitations on beds and staff that we have, they have,” said Acker.

Limitations that have also caused St. Lawrence Health System to temporarily postpone all elective surgeries.

Ackerman says soon enough, if the community doesn’t do its part, hospitals may not be able to do theirs.

“Let’s get beyond prior beliefs and let’s get vaccinated because we know it’s the only major tool that we have to prevent being in the position that we are in now and have it worsen,” said Acker.

Acker wants to see people in their 30s, 40s and 50s to get their vaccinations and a booster shot.

He says that will help younger people stay out of the hospital if they get COVID.

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