Helen Keller Hospital says pandemic is far from over despite decline in hospitalizations

The state as a whole is seeing a slight decline, but last week, statewide, there were only 39 ICU beds available. 

Posted: Jan 22, 2021 4:12 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2021 7:27 PM

Statewide and even locally, hospitals are seeing a slight decline in coronavirus patients, but we are nowhere near out of this pandemic.

Helen Keller Hospital had 68 patients last week. Now, they are down to 38.

Hospital President Kyle Buchanan said while it's important to celebrate victories like this, a spike can lead them back to being overwhelmed and 38 patients is still incredibly high for them.

"Yesterday, we admitted eight COVID-positive patients and that's pretty high for us on a Thursday," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said we're not out of the woods yet, despite seeing some decline in coronavirus hospitalizations.

"We've seen some really concerning things in the ER that really make us think we may hover in this area or increase ebb and flow over the next few days," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said even though their COVID ICU unit has shrunk, giving a touch of relief to the strained hospital, they still have plans in place to expand it if needed.

"Thirty-eight is still higher than our previous peak during the summer of last year when everything was shut down and we were all very concerned. Our record then was 35, so we are still very much in this fight," said Buchanan.

A fight that's at a turning point with vaccines being given to the most vulnerable and other ways to combat the virus, like using the monoclonal antibody treatment.

"Providing several monoclonal therapies everyday, especially in the middle of the week because it's ordered on an outpatient basis and we have our infusion clinic, which has been in operation for years. They are devoting many of their resources to provide that treatment. We're seeing great results in a lot of individuals who again may prevent a hospitalization by having that therapy," said Buchanan.

To get the antibody treatments, you must meet certain requirements like having an underlying condition that could make you susceptible to the virus. Then, your doctor will have to put you on the treatment.

So far this week, Helen Keller Hospital has been able to vaccinate more than 1,000 people, ages 75 and up. They are now waiting on more vaccines to hold another vaccination clinic.

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