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Hospital sees COVID-19 surge

Seventy COVID-19 patients were being treated Monday at Butler Memorial Hospital.
Elective surgeries evaluated at BMH

A surge in COVID-19 patients at Butler Memorial Hospital has surgeons prioritizing elective surgeries.

A news release from the hospital Monday said while BMH is “experiencing a surge that is as significant as any previous,” there are no shortages of supplies or equipment, including ventilators.

The release said the hospital is caring for 70 COVID-19 patients, all of whom are confirmed to have the virus.

Of those patients, 13 are being treated in the intensive care unit.

The hospital reported two deaths Nov. 23, one death Saturday and one death Sunday.

Clarion Hospital, which is part of the Butler Health System, was caring for 14 patients with COVID-19 on Monday.

Of those, 11 were confirmed cases and three suspected.

Three people with the virus were in the ICU at Clarion.

Clarion Hospital saw two deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, one Friday and one Thursday.

The release said due to the increase in COVID-19 patients at BMH, surgeons will decide whether their patient's surgery must be performed or may be delayed, if necessary.

Tammy May, a surgical ICU registered nurse and president of the state Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals at BMH, confirmed there is no shortage of ventilators or any other equipment at the hospital.“Management has done a good job since 2020, ramping up and getting the supplies we need,” May said.She said the hospital continues to struggle with staffing as many of those who planned to retire in the next few years have taken an immediate retirement, while other nurses have accepted positions elsewhere due to an increase in nursing opportunities during the pandemic.May said managers have taken on patient care and worked alongside nurses at BMH to fill positions.She said management has offered incentives to nurses and others who agree to work overtime, but nurses work overtime multiple times per week.“That makes people second guess whether they want to continue in their capacity,” May said.She said the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect nurses' morale.As a 20-year veteran of the ICU at BMH, May said she has never experienced so many patient deaths as she has during the pandemic.“This has been extremely difficult,” she said. “We are usually able to get people to a stage where they're getting better. With COVID, you don't see everyone getting better.”May said nursing always has been a physically and emotionally demanding vocation, but the number of COVID-19 deaths has been hard on caregivers at BMH.“With that amount of sorrow during every shift, it's emotionally hard,” she said. “It's difficult to be uplifting when you are dealing with something so tragic.”She said nurses also deal with those who do not consider the pandemic tragic.“It's very disheartening,” May said.Regarding the new omicron variant, the longtime nurse said she is concerned about any variant.“It's a new disease, and we don't know how it is going to mutate and change until they study it,” May said.

Butler Memorial Hospital.

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