PORTSMOUTH — Amidst the area’s most serious surge of COVID-19 cases yet, Southern Ohio Medical Center announced on Saturday that the hospital’s ICU was at capacity.
“The level of resources we have been forced to dedicate to this single diagnosis is unsustainable,” the hospital warned. “Like many hospitals, including others in our region, we are being stretched to the breaking point.”
SOMC has a total of 248 beds. As of September 11, more than 20% of those beds were occupied by COVID patients, a record high. The hospital is preparing to open its fourth separate unit to treat patients with COVID-19. Because the virus is so highly contagious, once a patient with COVID-19 is admitted to a unit it becomes difficult to house any other patients in that area.
The increase in hospitalizations also means there are fewer beds available for other patients in need of emergency care.
“This affects more than just patients with COVID-19,” SOMC said in their statement. “The dramatic increase in COVID hospitalizations means there may not be a bed available for those who wake up with chest pains. Or those who suffer a stroke. Or those involved in a car crash.”
The recent surge in cases and hospitalizations is aided by southern Ohio’s low vaccination rates. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated individuals are five-times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and 29-times more likely to require hospitalization. More than 90% of SOMC’s COVID patients are unvaccinated.
SOMC urged the community to come together to help reverse this trend, stating “for more than a year, this pandemic has loomed over all of us. It will take all of us to make it stop.”
COVID vaccines are available for free and without an appointment at SOMC’s Community Pharmacies in Portsmouth, Wheelersburg and West Union. The vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective. For more information, please refer to cdc.gov.