Sanford Health, Essentia Health see increase in patients
Many more patients are coming in for issues not related to COVID-19. The hospitals say this may be due to people putting off care.
FARGO, N.D. — Of the 153 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in North Dakota, approximately 50% of them are in Fargo.
Sanford Health says there has been between 60-70 coronavirus patients at their facility this week and Essentia Health has reported between 10-15 patients.
There have been concerns over the hospitals having enough beds to handle these patients, but the facilities say they have the means to adjust if and when they near capacity.
“Many of our beds have dual purpose and capacity,” said Sanford Health’s vice president and chief medical officer, Dr. Doug Griffin. “They can be ICU beds or a medical surgical bed depending on what we need. So, we have the capacity to add up ICU beds as needed.”
Sanford added 24 new dual-purpose beds to its Broadway facility over the last month and will also be adding 14 new beds to Sanford Medical Center before Thanksgiving.
Both hospitals are also seeing a rise in patients that have not been effected by COVID-19.
Essentia Health says many patients have put off care because of the pandemic and are now coming in more ill.
“It is both that they have delayed their care and also they are still nervous about coming in even when they are not feeling well, so they wait until things deteriorate to a point when they have to come in and they are actually sicker,” said Essentia Health chief medical officer, Dr. Richard Vetter.
Vetter adds he has seen more cases of worsening diabetes, heart conditions and higher infections because of the delay of care.
Although the number of coronavirus cases has risen significantly in North Dakota, Vetter says he is optimistic that the increase in cases will not reflect an increase in hospitalization levels of COVID-19 patients.
“I think we are testing healthier people, particularly in that 20-30 year old range. Even though they are positive, their need for hospitalization and ICU care is much less,” Vetter said.
Neither hospital has reached a point where they are turning anyone away. They both say the increase in capacity has not at all effected their level of patient care.