Tri-State hospitals provide capacity updates

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 7:07 PM CST
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VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WFIE) - It’s been one week since Deaconess Health System announced its hospitals were nearing capacity.

[Deaconess officials say hospitals could pass max capacity if COVID-19 trends continue]

With COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise, 14 News checked in with small hospitals in our area to see how their numbers were stacking up in terms of ICU beds available, staffing and PPE.

Generally, health officials across the Tri-State say their staffs are doing “okay.”

14 News is waiting on updates from Fairfield Memorial Hospital in Illinois and Ohio County Hospital in Kentucky. As soon as those updates are received, they will be added to this story.


“COVID-19 is a very serious pandemic," says Dr. Levi McDaniel, the chief of staff at Wabash General Hospital in Mount Carmel, Illinois.

He says his hospital is seeing increased ER visits and hospitalizations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. McDaniel says the hospital does still have beds available and that staff has been able to care for all of their patients so far.

Officials tell us in terms of staffing, there are no major concerns, as of right now, because officials can rearrange staffing to fit the ever-changing demands of the hospital.

Health officials also tell 14 News, they have plenty of PPE, and they believe they supply will be sufficient moving forward.

“The question is," says Dr. McDaniel, "are we going to continue to see a steady rise in the number of cases and a continued increased demand in the number of beds? There will be a capacity at some point, and hopefully, we’ll come in under that, but we’re doing okay right now.”


In regards to a hospital-wide update, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stan Tretter released the following statement.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we have and are seeing the highest number of COVID positive cases and hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic. We closely monitor our hospital beds, ventilator availability, and PPE. At this time, we have adequate amounts available. However, we are concerned with the continued climbing number of cases seen in the region. We need our community and the region to be vigilant and take the necessary precautions to minimize viral transmission.”


Dr. Wayne Lipson is the chief medical officer and cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon at Baptist Health Madisonville.

He says, just like many other hospitals, Madisonville is seeing increased hospitalizations caused by COVID-19.

“We are experiencing numbers similar to what we saw during the initial surge in the spring in the high teens to mid-20s,” says Dr. Lipson. “When we were successful in flattening the curve, we saw numbers in the single digits for several consecutive weeks.”

Officials say despite this, they do still have beds available.

“The hospital has bed capacity at this time,” stated Dr. Lipson, “and we have the ability to expand on our capacity should it become necessary to do that. We are staffed for the numbers we are seeing, but if a large surge were to happen, staffing could quickly become a concern for all hospitals. We are well stocked on PPE supplies as well.”

Just this week, Baptist Health updated its visitation policies to help keep patients and staff safe.

“We have updated our visitation policy to not allow visitors except in certain circumstances,” says Dr. Lipson, “and that is not an easy decision, because we know how much loved ones want to be together. But, with the wide-spread community positivity rate and the amount of people not masking, it is the safest thing we can do for our patients and to help keep our staff healthy so that they can be here to provide the care our community needs.”


Brian Hamby with Owensboro Health described the hospital’s staffing, bed availability and PPE supply as “adequate.”

He says currently, the hospital is seeing one or two COVID-19 hospitalizations at any given time. He says the Muhlenberg Community Hospital is able to work within the Owensboro Health network, should staff need more support.

Hamby says, so far, officials have not needed to rely on any sort of reserve workforce to keep the hospital staffed. He says as of Tuesday, all hospitals and clinics within Owensboro Health have been able to meet the demands of the pandemic.

Owensboro Health officials have announced enhanced visitor restrictions.

Beginning Thursday, inpatients and those having surgeries will only be allowed one visitor throughout their stay. That person must be designated before the stay.

All patients and visitors must use a singular entrance - Entance A.

All visitors in the ER will be asked to remain in their cars unless they meet certain criteria. Exceptions include minors and support persons for the elderly or those with developmental disabilities.

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