NH hospitals slammed with COVID patients

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 3:23 PM EST
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CLAREMONT, N.H. (WCAX) - New Hampshire is taking steps to free up more hospital beds as COVID admissions reach a pandemic peak.

The Granite State is averaging between 900 and 1,000 COVID cases a day and that has hospitals across the region stretched thin.

“I had COVID and it sucked,” said Patricia White. The Newport resident was in a car crash two years ago that crushed her foot. Only recently was she able to get the surgery she needed to repair it. “They were full. They just kept pushing you back and back and back because of COVID.”

Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont is at 100% capacity. Officials there say the emergency department has been extremely busy and there remains a shortage of critical care beds in New Hampshire.

“Absolutely, it is concerning to me. I have family in the area. I don’t want to be in an area where there are high case numbers,” said Jay Buckey of Newport.

There are currently about 400 COVID patients in hospitals across New Hampshire, the highest number of patients so far during the pandemic.

Buckey hopes it serves as an incentive to get people vaccinated. “Or if you have already been vaccinated to get a booster shot. Hopefully, people take it seriously and take precautions. It’s not a political thing or partisan thing, people just come together,” he said

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has 33 COVID cases. Officials there say the hospital is prepared to take steps to reduce or delay medical procedures, among other strategies, to make bed space available for more.

Patricia White already knows what it’s like to have care delayed. “Hopefully the people who have bigger problems than I do get in,” she said. “I just wish more people would not spit out in the wind. I wish more people would cover their faces.”

With cases and hospitalizations rising, health care officials worry that fatalities will follow. New Hampshire reported 21 COVID-related deaths in the past couple of days.

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