HUNTINGTON — Two of the region’s hospitals have reached a record level in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center have reached an all-time high in the number of patients hospitalized with the virus, according to a news release. Both hospitals are members of Mountain Health Network.
There were 115 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized at Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center last week, the release said, a figure that surpassed the previous peak of 109 in December.
That number had decreased by Friday morning, when there were 105 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized at the two facilities. Of those, 86% had not been vaccinated against the virus. In addition, 31 patients were in intensive care units, with 97% of them being unvaccinated. Nineteen of the patients require mechanical ventilation, with 95% of them having not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Two of the patients requiring ventilation are children, the release said.
“The numbers in our hospitals show that the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” Dr. Larry Dial, chief clinical officer of Mountain Health Network, said in the release. “We know that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to end this pandemic, and so we continue to urge everyone 12 and older to get the vaccine.”
The local hospitals’ numbers follow a statewide trend, with West Virginia reaching a record high in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals. The state also has the highest rate of acceleration of new cases in the country.
“The aggressive delta variant is spreading rapidly across our area,” Dial said. “The best way to slow down this spread is getting more people vaccinated.”
Kristie Whitlatch, president and CEO of King’s Daughters Medical Center, described a similar situation at that facility, posting a plea on Facebook for people to be informed and get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This past week has been brutal,” her post said. “Our team, our medical staff, our facility is stretched to capacity. They are exhausted but determined to push through.”
Whitlatch said there were 82 COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Thursday, representing about 27% of the facility’s total acute care capacity. Seventy-one of the patients — 87% — were unvaccinated.
There were no available beds in the hospital’s COVID ICU, and 13 COVID patients were on vents.
Because health officials expect the situation to get worse before the surge plateaus, Whitlatch said the hospital is canceling all non-urgent procedures scheduled the week of Sept. 12. In addition, some outpatient offices will be closed so those teams can be diverted to hospital and urgent care settings.