Rutland hospital ICU almost full, expecting COVID spike this week

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 4:10 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The omicron wave of COVID continues to build in Vermont and the state’s second-largest hospital says their ICU is almost full.

Meg Oakes is the senior director of quality and safety at the Rutland Regional Medical Center.

She expects the hospital will see the spike the state has been talking about later this week.

Monday morning, the hospital’s ICU was nearing capacity.

“Our ICU was almost full this morning. About half the patients have COVID and those represent about 30% of our total COVID patients,” Oakes said.

Oakes said as of Monday afternoon, there were beds available in the ICU and on the medical and surgical floors.

Meanwhile, omicron continues to stress the health care system, and RRMC is asking people to be patient with wait times.

Oakes says the whole system remains fragile and transferring patients is very difficult.

During the pandemic, they’ve been sending patients to step-down facilities like nursing homes to free up hospital beds. But staffing shortages at long-term care facilities make that difficult.

“For the better part of last week, most of our community partners were closed to admissions for our patients. So that can cause a backup in the hospital. Ditto for transportation. The ambulance service-- if their staff is sick then they can’t provide as much transportation,” Oakes said.

RRMC is still receiving help from Vermont Emergency Management and FEMA.

Since December, more than 40 temporary staffers have helped the strained hospital.

Oakes says six additional nurses are making it possible to keep some beds open.

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