|The first known case of COVID-19 in Saline County was reported on March 28, 2020, marking the beginning of the pandemic in Saline County. With the second anniversary quickly approaching, the local healthcare community is strained more than ever before.|
As it stands today, at least 194 members of our community have lost their lives to COVID-19, accounting for more than two people per week since the pandemic began.
Salina Regional Health Center Over Capacity
The surge of COVID-19 cases that started in mid-December has often put Salina Regional Health Center and many others across the state past maximum capacity. The patient load alone is enough to strain the resources of any hospital but is compounded by staffing shortages from illness and burnout.
“We’ve had between 25 and 30 COVID patients each day; with 6 to 12 of those in the ICU; 3 to 6 on ventilators; and usually 5 to 10 in the ER waiting for beds,” explained Dr. Freelove, SRHC Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President. “Unfortunately, those aren’t the only patients waiting for a bed. The hospital has been holding 8 to 15 non-COVID patients in the ER each day. All of our inpatient numbers would be higher if we had the staff and space to care for them.”
At times, these COVID and non-COVID patients take up every single bed in Salina’s emergency room, sometimes leaving no place for patients to be seen.
Car accidents and other tragedies don’t stop when ER beds run out. In order to continue seeing emergency patients, the ER has overflowed to other areas of the hospital.
As a result, the hospital has had to cancel surgeries important to quality of life and even life itself. Salina Regional has been unable to accept transfers from neighboring counties, forcing these smaller hospitals to function well beyond their capacity, which puts all patients at risk.