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Doctor explains capacity at Twin Falls hospital in light of rising COVID-19 cases

“So we’ve got COVID patients in most of our areas now because COVID floor has filled up completely.”
St Luke’s Magic Valley is currently treating around 50 to 60 patients for COVID-19. They tell...
St Luke’s Magic Valley is currently treating around 50 to 60 patients for COVID-19. They tell KMVT, that their battle so far has been with having enough staff to take care of the patients, particularly nursing staff.(Jake Brasil)
Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 9:03 AM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - As coronavirus cases continue to rise COVID-19 patients made up 37% of the hospitalizations at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center as of Wednesday.

Dr. Joshua Kern, with St. Luke’s Magic Valley, told KMVT just how much strain this puts on the hospital.

When they refer to the hospital being close to capacity it means more to the amount of staff that is available, more than the physical room and equipment available.

Kern said for COVID-19 patients, they lower the nurse to patient ratio to 4 to 1 for non-intensive care unit COVID patients, as opposed to the normal at 5 to 1.

Kern said the hospital has one full floor known as the COVID-19 ward, but it often fills up.

“That’s part of why we closed our pediatric admission so we could actually spill COVID patients on to other floors, going to the pediatric floor and the other adult med-surge floors,” Kern said. “So we’ve got COVID patients in most of our areas now because the COVID floor has filled up completely.”

Kern said they are concerned about what could happen after the holiday if people do travel. The volume that the hospital could see two weeks after Thanksgiving.

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