LEWISBURG – Evangelical Community Hospital is full again amid the current COVID surge. President and CEO Kendra Aucker says the number of admitted COVID patients is nearly as high as last December.
She says there are plenty of other patients with other health issues too, especially because they waited to get care because of high volumes last year, “And they’re sicker than we’ve seen in a long time. So the hospital is full. I think its the same way across the region, every hospital is full. So our resources, our beds and our staffing are being pushed to our limits.”
Aucker says more and more patients coming to the emergency department are being boarded, causing exaggerated wait times for people not needing immediate care. To help reduce wait times, she says the hospital has now created an ED surge clinic, “So if volumes get really high, we sort of push the button and we open up another area adjacent to the emergency department. So we bring in additional medical staff who will then look to offer help to some of those patients.”
However, Aucker says the staffing shortages have nothing to do with the hospital implementing its own vaccine policy and the federal CMS vaccine mandate that’s currently in limbo in the courts. She says 98% of the hospital’s workforce has complied and they only lost about 10 employees due to the mandate.
Aucker also talks the current age range of patients being admitted, “But in the last several weeks, we’ve seen far younger individuals in this building…sick, sick with COVID. And so I can’t stress it enough. It’s important to get vaccinated, boosted, and do your part.”
Evan Hospital CEO Kendra Aucker says the hospital’s COVID testing site is seeing about 50 patients per day, but won’t be expanding hours at this point because of greater access to testing elsewhere – however, she says they will still continue to monitor the local COVID numbers.