Dignity Health hospitals seeing slightly less COVID patients

Posted at 9:25 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 12:25:25-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Dignity Health officials said Wednesday morning they are seeing slightly less COVID patients at their hospitals.

Bruce Peters from Mercy hospitals said they still have more than 60 patients with COVID with 15 patients in the ICU, 12 of whom are on ventilators.

As a result, Mercy hospitals have suspended elective surgery with plans to review the decision at noon Wednesday.

"[Patient] census is a big driver to staff beds [for elective surgery]," said Peters.

Ken Keller of Dignity Health said Memorial Hospital has 39 COVID patients with six in the ICU, five of whom are on ventilators.

The National Guard and state traveling nurses are still providing help to the hospitals' emergency rooms.

"At some point, they'll stop providing help. Some are leaving this week, some next week. We continue to use our supplemental traveling nurses and that will continue," said Peters.

He said having supplemental travel nurses to help with staffing isn't unique to the pandemic.

While the current surge is waning, flu season play a role in another one this winter.

"The big unknown is the flu. The flu season is starting now. We didn't have much flu last year because of masks," said Dr. Hemmal Kothary.

He also recommends people continue to use masks and to get a flu shot.