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Hospital CEOs talk about covid numbers in local hospitals

Published: Dec. 24, 2020 at 2:14 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -And as numbers continue to rise here in the County, we wanted to sit down and get the most up to date information from the four local hospitals. The four CEOs share more on the numbers they are currently seeing in the community. Peter Sirois, the President and CEO of Northern Maine Medical Center says “Well, here at Northern Maine medical center, it did get, um, Quite unruly, uh, with the amount of patients, uh, and, um, testing we had to do right after Thanksgiving. Uh, it seemed to really, um, uh, um, have some momentum, uh, and we had it in all pockets. Um, From, uh, workplace, uh, to small galleries of homes. Um, our, um, people were, um, coming in calling to get, uh, more and more tested. There was a lot more positives. We had three or four more emissions currently right now we have no one in the house. I think it’s settled down a bit. Uh, we’re still seeing quite a bit of positives in our community, um, that it’s alarming. I think people are getting ready for holidays. I think there’s that spirit of. Thanksgiving as Christmas kind of flows into one big gatherings, uh, and people traveling, um, so more indoor activities. So, uh, we’re seeing more of our employees who, uh, who are having a positive we have right now, I believe almost 20 of our employees that are either quarantine and home or away from work. And that makes it tight on staffing, especially around the holidays here, coming up. So, um, we want to make sure people stay vigilant. Uh, it’s very important.”

Kris Doody, CEO at Cary Medical Center says; “Yeah, we’ve seen an increasing number also at Carey. Um, uh, as well as, as Pete mentioned right after Thanksgiving, uh, we definitely saw an increasing numbers, uh, with the issues that were happening at the, our local nursing homes, uh, at a local, uh, healthcare, uh, excuse me, a local, um, um, Elderly housing facility. Um, we’ve been seeing increasing numbers, which means we’ve been seeing increased admissions, but we’ve also seen some improvements on how we’re managing these patients. Since last March, we’re able to aggressively manage them a lot more on an outpatient basis, but for those who are ill. We are seeing some increasing numbers. As we’re doing this interview, we have two inpatients. Um, and, um, even though we were supporting them, some of these patients are very ill and it’s very tough on our staff. And if this Pete mentioned, it’s really hard to see some of our people we know in our community, friends, family members become ill with this virus.

Shawn Anderson, the CEO of Houlton Regional Hospital says “In Houlton. Uh, we saw the very same, uh, situation, uh, post Thanksgiving. We saw a spike, uh, and the spike was vigorous. Um, and it was raging, I would say, well, we were very. Um, transparent with the community as, as this was happening, uh, really encouraged people to, um, stay the course and, and be vigilant about what they were doing. Um, unfortunately that it really raged and we were seeing double digits, uh, positive cases in the community on a daily basis. And. There were a number of places that are testing in the Houlton region. So, um, the numbers of positive, uh, cases that were cropping up on a daily basis, um, literally up until about 10 days ago, uh, there were double digit increases every day. Um, we maxed out actually, um, about 10 days ago with seven. Inpatients at Houlton regional hospital. And that’s where we maxed out. Um, it was, uh, it is tough on a small rural hospitals to have that kind of, uh, inpatient activity related to, um, the infectious disease. Like COVID, uh, so it’s a challenge. Um, uh, we were ready for it, but, uh, nonetheless, it’s a challenge. Um, today, I’m glad to report that. Uh, we’re now down to a single inpatient and that patient is slated to go home this afternoon. So we’re extremely excited about that. Um, and that we’ve kind of come down the backside of this most recent spike. Uh, but that doesn’t mean that our guard is down. Uh we’re we know that there’ll be likely another spike, uh, but, um, we’re hoping that, um, everyone listening. Well, heed, the advice and really take care over the coming holiday, then do all the right things. No, we’ll talk about that more in a little bit later.

Sirois adds; “just as a follow-up, one of the things that I, I, we find is a bit of a disconnect is that Walgreens, which is great, they’re doing, uh, antigen testing. Um, but they don’t report to CDC when they’re positive. They just instruct them to go see their PCP. So we’re seeing people walk into our building that are positive and looking for a test or trying to get confirmed or not even coming in at all. We’re here from pockets of families that they got positive. They’re staying home, or they’re not. And that not wanting to get a PCR test to confirm that he is positive or not. So we’re struggling with that. We see a lot of people walking in our community that got tested at Walgreens and they’re not reporting it to us, or they just walk in with some of their symptoms.”

The CEO’s say that kind of goes to the idea that while these are the numbers that are being reported, but you should assume that there’s more in the community than what is officially reported.

Sirois says; “Uh, for sure. There’s a lot of things that these energy and tests around the County that don’t get reported to CDC or any of us.”

Doody adds; “And also remember Kelly that a test taken today is the result of today. So if a person is tested today, uh, and it came back negative, let’s say they went to Walgreen’s and had the antigen testing has tested negative. It doesn’t mean that they’re, they, they still could have been exposed and they still couldn’t convert to positive. So it’s also concerning that people who have been tested and received a negative result, think that they’re safe and that they, that they’re okay. They still could convert.”

Sirois adds; “That’s a good point, Kris. We had three today in the same family that went to Walgreens. It was negative. They continue with symptoms.”

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