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Can local hospitals handle a COVID-19 surge?

The Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and University Hospitals are all taking their fluctuating capacity numbers very seriously

CLEVELAND — On Monday, December 7, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he doesn’t want our hospitals to get to a point where healthcare is threatened. So we checked on the health of our hospitals to be able to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Cleveland Clinic is staffed up and ready to treat any COVID  patient who comes through its doors. Cleveland Clinic Infectious Disease Dr. Kristin Englund says the hospital is delaying some overnight elective hospital stays to make sure beds are available.

“So were not at capacity at this point in time, but as we’re seeing in other states it can happen.  And if that does happen then if affects everybody, not just COVID -19 patients,” says Dr. Englund.

The Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and University Hospitals are all taking their fluctuating capacity numbers very seriously. Dr. Daniel Simon is the Chief Clinical and Scientific Officer at University Hospitals and says his staff is literally looking at their capacity numbers multiple times a day.

“We’re assessing our capacity every four hours and adjusting accordingly based on that,” says Dr. Simon.

The capacity rate factors include the number of staff members able to take care of sick patients and the number of regular and intensive care unit beds available.

“We know that there are a certain number of patients who are going to be discharged today, so those beds are going to be opening so that we can bring new patients in. As long as we have the ability to maintain that kind of flow that’s what’s really important,” says Dr. Englund.

UH has 1,700 hospital beds across its campuses and say they can expand even further if it needs to.

“Surge plans that will take us up to 300% capacity. So in other words, we can go up to 5,100 beds. Those plans were developed back in March and April,” says Dr. Simon.

While hospitals monitor the number of COVID  patients, they’re hoping Ohioans will note the post Thanksgiving spike in cases, and be safe and healthy for the rest of the winter holidays and the new year.

“You know you can say as much say you want ‘don’t get together’, but how are we going to be able to regulate that? We are counting on the people of Ohio to be smart, to be compassionate, and to take care of each other,” says Dr. Englund.

Neither of the doctors 3News spoke with think Ohio will go on a strict lockdown like we saw a few months ago, but they add anything is possible especially if COVID -19 rates in Ohio spike at an enormous rate.

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