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COVID-19 cases straining small hospitals

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Posted at 3:52 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 15:53:01-05

HILLSDALE, Mich. — Hospitals across the country are strained as more and more people are infected with COVID-19- particularly rural hospitals.

On Tuesday, 18.5% of COVID-19 tests in Hillsdale County were coming back positive, which is higher than the statewide positivity rate of 13.5%. As of that afternoon, COVID patients were in three of Hillsdale Hospital’s four Intensive Care Unit beds.

Many more have been on ventilators.

“Patients are coming in sicker and they are deteriorating quite rapidly,” said Doris Worley, Hillsdale Hospital patient advocate. “This is probably the worst I’ve ever seen.”

The hospital is so busy right now they are not allowing visitors inside and nurses weren’t available to be interviewed.

“Our managers are working the floors, they’re taking care of patients. Our Chief Nursing Officer is on the floor taking care of patients,” Worley said. “I have to be very honest and say it is draining on the staff. They are tired. They really are tired.”

Coronavirus spreading community wide isn’t helping the situation inside the hospital either. Many nurses and other staff are having to take off because they are getting the virus primarily outside of work.

“They live here, they grocery shop here, they get their gas here. Our team is vulnerable to that just like other folks in the community,” said Rachel Lott, Hillsdale Hospital spokeswoman.

Lott said many workers have stepped up and taken extra shifts, but they are trying to not pull from other areas.

“We do have those challenges of figuring out how we are making sure that we can serve everyone’s needs as best as possible,” she said.

Hillsdale Hospital does have partnerships with larger health networks if a patient needs more specialized care. However, Worley said most of its patients don’t need to be transferred to another hospital.

Lott said the community can help ease the burden on the hospital by simply wearing a mask, washing hands and keeping their distance.

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