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Intensive care units reach full capacity

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - Cheering from the bleachers, eating at restaurants, and learning in person again are all signs that life is slowly returning to normal.

“It’s definitely not normal for all of our teams inside hospitals across our region. We come to work every day to fight a war,” Amy Fraulini, Director of Critical Care and Heart Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), said.

Fraulini says the most recent surge of COVID-19 maxed their ICU capacity Friday.

“We are stretched to the limit,” Fraulini said.

Typically she says patients would be transferred to other regional hospitals, such as King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) or Cabell Huntington Hospital, but she says they’re facing the same issue.

The ICU units at KDMC, Cabell Huntington Hospital, and St. Mary’s Medical Center are all at full capacity, hospital officials say.

“That’s scary, that’s concerning,” Fraulini said.

This forces some SOMC patients to wait days and in some cases weeks to get a bed in the ICU, Fraulini says.

“We’ve already made it to put two patients in some of our ICU rooms that were just originally built for one person,” Fraulini said.

Rearranging rooms, while medical staff works on other options.

“We’re moving patients out of the ICU that probably shouldn’t go out of the ICU yet, and we’re moving them to medical-surgical floors ... those patients would normally be in our ICU,” Fraulini said.

The issue isn’t just affecting those with COVID, but anyone who might have a heart attack, stroke, or car accident.

Fraulini urges people to get vaccinated or wear a mask to help the issue.

“Right now it is a medical issue and people are not gonna be able to get emergency medical help when they need it if we don’t all work together,” Fraulini said.

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