Local hospital system experiencing unusually high number of patients

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Washington Health System is experiencing a significant increase in patients, at a time when there’s been a decrease in staffing.

Hospital officials said have exceeded maximum capacity and notified local 911 centers, and attribute the increase to both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients needing care.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Six said the “treatment delay advisory” at the emergency department included all incoming patients to prepare for significant delays.

“Right now we are experiencing another wave of COVID positive patients,” he said.

Like hospitals across the state, the hospital is not only dealing with an increase in patients, but a shortage of the staff to take care of them.

They are still accepting patients and the hospital does have available beds, but they’ve now exceeded the ratio to safely take care of patients.

“We are in a staffing crisis like every hospital in the nation, even though we have the beds available we need the staff to take care of those patients,” he said.

The hospital’s COVID unit peaked in November with 57 patients, and over the summer cases dropped so low that some days they only had one patient.  But now they’re seeing a spike in cases again, with “70% of in-patient COVID patients are unvaccinated.  About 30% are fully vaccinated.”