Onaga hospital facing added stress from pandemic surge

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The pandemic surge is impacting Community Health Care System’s Onaga Community Hospital.

In addition to rising numbers of COVID-19 inpatients, the hospital has also been challenged transferring stroke and cardiac patients since the beginning of August. Chief Nursing Officer Mindy Olberding said Friday that it took more than three hours finding a bed for at least one stroke patient recently. In another case, the closest nearby bed space was as far away as Idaho or Illinois.

The Onaga hospital is only staffed with three to four nurses a day and has only a small pool of available nurses it can bring in to help.

Olberding says the hospital is taking proactive steps, including reaching out to larger hospitals to take patients and free up beds for higher acuity patients. Another is ramping up staffing to administer monoclonal antibodies in an effort to keep those who have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19 out of the hospital.

If trends don’t change, hospital leaders say it may have challenges finding appropriate care in time to save patients regardless of whether they have COVID-19 or not.

They contend vaccinations remain the best way to mitigate COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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