CLEWISTON -- The beds at Hendry Regional Medical Center have been filling up with patients recently.
“We have been very close to capacity especially over the past two weeks and it is literally day-to-day,” Chief Nursing Officer Dakota Redd, R.N. said.
“In our Emergency Department we are seeing about 25% visits that are covid-related,” Redd said. “They range in age from 20-60, with the biggest growth being in the under-50 years of age category.”
Until just about a month ago, Redd said HRMC had been fortunate with patient influxes. But since then, there has been a continued influx of covid-positive patients not just in the Emergency Department but at the Med-Surg unit.
As of Aug. 23, Redd said Hendry County’s prevalence rate for the virus was just over 22%, four times of what it had been.
The Intensive Care Unit has been closed since earlier in the pandemic to free staff to attend to areas with higher patient volumes, he said.
Typically, if there is a need for a higher level of care HRMC may refer patients out to other hospitals.
“However, with the bed crisis throughout the state we have struggled with being able to transfer patients as quickly as we would in the past,” he said. “This leads to further back-up in our Emergency Department and stress on our teams.”
Staff continues to protect themselves with the use of PPEs, of which there is no shortage, and following all the CDC’s guidelines. Support systems are in place for staff if they need help.
Redd said like many hospitals have reported throughout Florida, traveling nurses are temporarily filling open positions at HRMC until the spots can be permanently filled.
“We continue to celebrate our victories and what we do well in the midst of crisis with the hope that our community will understand the importance of vaccinations and facial coverings,” he said.
“Mask up. Get vaccinated, please!”
He recommended those who want testing and are not symptomatic or are experiencing minor symptoms to try to avoid Emergency Services so other medical emergencies or those with severe covid symptoms can be treated.
Testing can be scheduled in Clewiston at the Dr. James D. Forbes Family Care Center by calling 863-983-3434 for an appointment.
To schedule testing in LaBelle, contact the Hendry Regional Convenient Care Center at 863-675-2356. Both offer curb-side testing and same-day appointments.
Vaccines are available by appointment only at HRMC in Clewiston by calling 863-983-9121, ext. 263, and at Hendry Regional Convenient Care at 863-675-2356. Leave a message with your name and phone number and someone will return your call.