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Avera Medical Minute: Hospitals struggling with the pandemic surge

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Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 10:55 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Hospitals continue to feel the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the recent surge is only piling on.

Officials with Avera Health say they had under 100 patients system-wide at the start of the year.

In just over two weeks, that number has more than doubled to more than 200.

The sharp increase in cases and hospitalizations has healthcare leaders making difficult decisions on a daily basis.

“For every patient that we discharge, or unfortunately way too often, dies, and opens up a bed, we are having to choose between multiple patients on who is the sickest and prioritize who can be put into that bed. those decisions get harder each and every day,” Dr. David Basel said. He is the Vice President of Clinical Quality at Avera Health.

It’s not only the hospital that’s being stretched right now, but also urgent care centers, emergency departments, and testing locations.

“At one point when Omicron first hit, we were using more than twice the daily supplies of testing kits of what we get allocated on a federal basis,” Basel said. “We’ve been able to kind of readjust, bring on some additional testing platforms and get that back under control, but we are chewing through tests at a higher rate than at any other time during the pandemic.”

Health officials say the area’s positivity rate has climbed into the upper 30s, about 10% higher than the state’s previous peak in November of 2020.

You can find more information on keeping your family safe from COVID-19 here.

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