COLUMBUS — Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have nearly tripled in the past two weeks in Columbus.
The surge in hospitalizations at Columbus Regional Health come as they also spike across the state.
In the spring, we weren’t seeing the massive numbers of people flooding hospitals like other major cities, “but yet, we still prepared for kind of the what we thought would be the tsunami coming,” says Kelsey DeClue, Columbus Regional Health public relations coordinator. “And now, the tsunami seems to be hitting our area certainly.”
Their dedicated COVID unit is at capacity right now and they’re looking for ways to expand it with more beds and resources.
“We need to free up beds of course. But beds don’t care for people. People care for people,” said DeClue.
But perhaps the biggest need is staffing. “They are tired, they wear a tight N-95 mask all day long for 10-plus hour shifts. They are shouldering the burden of these people of these patients who they might not even see a loved one,” she said.
DeClue says healthcare workers are exhausted and they don’t have enough staff to keep up.
“You can’t see these patients struggling, you can’t see the staff struggling because it’s happening behind very closed doors to keep everyone safe,” she said. “And I know we saw a lot of those images circulating in the spring of the New York hospitals and all of that. We are seeing some of that! Our people are tired.”
“They are living this realness day after day after day,” she continued, “and there are people outside saying ‘oh it’s not real, it’s not a big deal, it’s no worse than this or that.’ And that’s really really hard for our staff to hear. They get increasingly frustrated when people don’t take this seriously.”
Like many other hospitals, Columbus Regional is now prioritizing surgical procedures to maintain enough beds.
“We are giving patients the option to take a step back, to have your procedure at a later date maybe when things have calmed down so that we can have the staffing and the beds available for those more urgent and emergency needs.”
DeClue is worried about the spikes in cases because people are out more, letting their guard down.
“Anywhere from two to 14 — or maybe more for some people — days after they were exposed, they can develop symptoms,” said DeClue. “But in the meantime, they could be spreading the virus without knowing it.”
So she’s asking people to mask up and take this virus seriously. “We’ve got to do everything that we can to stop this and it takes every single person to do it.”