CHICO – Enlo Medical Center is encouraging unvaccinated people to get the COVID-19 shot after hospitalization – the most since the start of the pandemic.
Hospitalizations related to the COVID-19 pandemic have continued in Enlo since early August.
Enloe Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Marcia Nelson warned of hospitalization during a press conference between Enloe and Butte County Medical Center on September 8.
“Last winter, we were enrolling only about 2 percent of all patients who were isolated for COVID in the county. By late summer, that number jumped to 5 percent,” Nelson said. “Now we plan to raise it to 10 percent, and if that happens we could have about 100 patients in Enlo alone. There is COVID. It will be more than one in every three patients in a hospital that has COVID.”
On Tuesday, Enloe reported an all-time record for administered COVID-19 patients, with 89 people being treated by the hospital and 16 in the ICU. As of Friday, the number of patients administered rose to 86, while 16 are in ICU. For comparison, on September 24, 2020, only 12 patients were receiving care for COVID-19.
Enlo Medical Center CEO Mike Wiltermood said Friday that the hospital has not only hit the most COVID-19 patients, it has also the most patients at the hospital since Feather River Hospital was evacuated during the Camp Fire.
“We’ve actually hit more than 300 patients in total,” Wiltermood said. “Since July the number of COVID patients per day was quite stable, about 60 per day occupying one bed, but recently it has reached around 100 people in the last few weeks. A good part of our census is being taken with COVID patients. “
Wiltermood said that with the increase in patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital staff are working overtime in an attempt to maintain care for patients. The staff shortage hasn’t helped either.
“We can’t close the emergency room, but we can postpone elective cases like certain surgeries or procedures that normally occupy a bed and redeploy those resources to COVID patients, So that’s what we’re doing,” Wiltermood said. Employees’ concern. “Last week we reduced the number of elective cases by 40 per cent. This week we’re going to reduce them 100 percent.”
Wiltermood said it was difficult to tell if the number of COVID-19 patients could have been avoided if more vaccinations had been done. He said 80 to 90 percent of those who are administered are unaffiliated.
“Proving negatives is hard, but based on our experience, it certainly seems like a lot of it can be avoided,” Wiltermood said. “I think if (Butte County) had higher vaccination rates, we would be in the same boat as many other areas of California that are handling this COVID surge better than we are.”
Vaccination rates in Butte County remain relatively low compared to other areas of the state. Of those eligible, only 52.85 percent have been fully vaccinated.
“If COVID emerges as a permanent fixture in the health care landscape, we will need to increase our available workforce over a long period of time,” Wiltermood said. “We are fortunate that we have two nursing schools in Butte County that we have been able to enroll.”
As the hospital world grapples with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wiltermood said every aspect of the field has been transformed in some way or another.
“COVID has had an impact through the health care industry – it is not just penetration. This is a visit to the clinic; This is a home health visit; This is a tour of Dharamsala; This is a nursing home. Everyone’s struggling to keep the volume up,” Wiltermood said.
Wiltermood said that despite the challenges, the community is understanding the situation in which the hospital is placed, thanking them for their continued support during the difficult times.
“We really appreciate the support we’ve received from our community. We’re not providing the level of customer service we want,” Wiltermood said. “The waiting time in the emergency room is too long; Wait times are high at many of our clinics. It is very difficult to make an appointment to see a doctor in the city, and now that we are postponing elective procedures, that is putting extra pressure on people who want to take care of their health care needs.
Butte County Public Health Department reported Friday that 131 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. So far 236 people have died due to this virus.
Vaccines for COVID-19 are still widely available throughout the county. A list of clinics providing the vaccine can be found on the Butte County website.
For more information on COVID-19 in Enloe, visit https://www.enloe.org/community-health/covid
For a list of vaccination clinics, visit http://www.buttecounty.net/publichealth/COVID19/vaccine or call the Butte County COVID-19 Hotline at 552-3050.