Already full, Hawaii hospitals brace for a possible surge in patients
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii hospitalizations nearly hit a new high Wednesday, with about 2,400 patients getting treatment at facilities statewide.
Of those, 414 tested positive for COVID.
Experts say while Hawaii may be on the downslope of its latest COVID surge, hospitals are preparing for an anticipated peak in patients.
“While evidence is fairly clear now that we have reached the peak of the Omicron surge from the infection perspective, which is very good news, we still don’t know if we’ve reached the peak from a hospitalizations prospective,” said Hilton Raethel, head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.
He said with most facilities either at or near capacity, hospitals are trying to make more space to ensure they can accommodate everyone who needs medical care.
On Wednesday, Wahiawa General opened a 16-bed unit exclusively for COVID patients who now need to move from hospitals into long-term care.
“They are accepting transfers from our hospitals as of today,” Raethel said.
On Hawaii Island, Hilo Medical Center is operating 14% over its normal capacity.
To accommodate the additional patients, staff converted a former long-term care facility on the hospital’s campus that was being used as office space back to a care facility.
The 24-bed unit will open Thursday.
Daniel Ross, head of the Hawaii Nurses Association, said the Queen’s Medical Center has also opened up unit that generally don’t house patients.
He said the space was typically used for patient procedures.
“They are housing patients there now in like a ward-type setting, where it’s one big room with curtains in between,” Ross said.
“And those would primarily be non-infectious patients they expect to be discharged soon.”
While hospital staffing remains an issue, officials say it’s getting better.
There are now close to 700 traveling frontline caregivers spread out across Hawaii. At least 80 more are expected to touch down this weekend.
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