By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The staffing situation at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center regarding COVID patients is critical.
"You know, our fantastic floor nurses right now are taking six to seven COVID patients a piece," said Chuck Welch with the hospital. "They just cannot keep doing that. Our critical care nurses are two really sick patients to every nurse and until we stop that, we are going to have to continue to get tougher and tougher with the restrictions until we can get this under control. We're just going to wear our people out."
Exhaustion isn't good for the immune systems of those workers, either, but at least right now, they're keeping infection within the hospital at bay.
"What we are seeing upstream is more and more positive patients," Welch said. "We've got to try and keep that out of the hospital. We have, from day one, tried to create a COVID safe environment. To my knowledge, we have not had any nosocomial, or hospital acquired, COVID patients and we want to keep it that way."
To reiterate the theme, though, Welch notes that stopping the spread is in the community's hands, even though this is a wave they are having to deal with.
"The adherence to wearing a mask and doing the simple things to keep this virus at bay are not being complied with either," Welch said. "I have said from the beginning, this will come in waves. Labor Day, people coming together, they spread the virus, there's an incubation period and then a wave of sick people come. That's the way it's going to go, so when you see those ebbs and flows in positivity rates in the community, it's just like ripples or waves on a lake."
Early this week, more than two-thirds of the patients in the hospital were COVID-19 positive patients.