Area hospitals reaching capacity as COVID cases continue to surge

Whether it’s COVID or a broken arm patients will be waiting a little longer at area hospitals these days.

"We are in crisis" said Maureen May. 

May is a registered nurse at Temple University Hospital and President of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals. 

"Almost every single hospital is at capacity, which means every bed in the hospital is being used" said May.

The holiday COVID surge could be seen firsthand Monday at a rapid testing Center City near 7th and Sansom where the line snaked around the corner and waited for hours for a test. At Temple Hospital, the wait to see a doctor is in the hours not minutes.

"I thought we were way over capacity I came to the emergency room 4 and half hour wait times, so many people in the waiting room," said May.

The Hospital and Healthcare Association of Pennsylvania tells FOX 29, 89 Pennsylvania hospitals' inpatient beds and 63 intensive care units were at least 90% capacity. Some hospitals are reporting people show up to the emergency rooms who don’t even need a doctor.

"I think we are seeing a lot of people coming to the emergency room just to get a COVID test. And that is the wrong place to get a COVID test" said Dr. Johnathan Stallkamp, Chief Medical Officer for Main Line Health. Stallkamp says a surge in patients means a longer wait for care.

"It means I have more people in my hospital beds upstairs. That if you need to be admitted to the hospital it will take you longer to get admitted," said Stallkamp.

The capacity issue is made worse by massive nationwide massive shortage of nurses. Many who have retired since the pandemic and others who are burning out after nearly 2 years working a pandemic. 

"We need more staffing, we need more help we need more resources. Yet we are still there" said May.

Doctors at Main Line Health say don’t ignore your symptoms and urge patients to go to the Emergency room if needed. But for minor illness or injury or a COVID test, you should contact your primary care doctor.



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