St. Charles Medical Center has started delaying some elective medical procedures due an expected surge of COVID patients infected with the delta variant.
While the Bend hospital is nowhere near its capacity to treat COVID patients at the moment, it is full with patients seeking other kinds of care.
Hospital administrators say some people who delayed care during the pandemic the past year are in worse condition and need to stay in the hospital longer than they might have otherwise.
To make room for an expected surge of delta-variant COVID patients, the hospital is scaling back on elective surgeries.
“We were finding, even with a scaled back roster of surgeries, we were still struggling on day of surgery to have a bed available,” said Debbie Robinson, St. Charles Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer. “So, yesterday we made the decision to scale that back to urgent and emergent for this next week to see if we can decompress the hospital a little bit.”
Hip or knee replacements are among the types of elective surgeries that will be delayed.
The hospital will notify patients who were scheduled to undergo such procedures.
The bed shortage will be addressed by transferring some patients to the Redmond and Prineville hospitals.
“We have also continued to see the trends of patients who are younger coming in sicker with the delta variants,” said Dr. Cynthia Maree, Medical Director of Infection Prevention for St. Charles.
As of today St. Charles was caring for 17 COVID patients.
Two of them were fully vaccinated.
Staffing continues to be a challenge for St. Charles.
Traveling nurses represent a percentage of the skilled labor at the hospital.
The hospital is now offering $10,000 sign on bonuses to registered bedside nurses.