Beckley ARH prepares for increased capacity and emergency room wait times

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Healthcare facilities are facing challenges in the newest surge of COVID-19 cases across the state. West Virginia leads the nation in transmission of COVID-19, per capita. The state reported 2,135 new cases on Thursday, September 16, 2021, leading to total of 28,773 active cases and a daily positivity rate of 10.37 percent.

Emergency rooms across the region experienced extended wait times and even treated patients outside the emergency room.

“It’s the state of affairs everywhere you go right now and we’re no different,” said Karen Walls, Nurse Manager for the Beckley ARH Emergency Department. “Our capacity is high, we are seeing an influx of patients who are COVID positive.”

Walls said despite longer wait times and lack of capacity in the emergency department, they are able to treat patients in the waiting room. If a patient comes into the hospital and there are no rooms available, physicians are continuously checking on each patient and are able to do basic treatment like bloodwork, x-rays and EKGs; even fully discharging them from the hospital.

“As a daughter and a mom, that is reassuring to me that I’m not just going to be sitting and there’s not going to be anything being done,” said Walls.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the region, Walls said they are bracing for longer wait times and more COVID patients. She said the public can help prevent an overload on local hospital systems by taking COVID-19 precautions seriously including social distancing, mask wearing, and closely monitoring symptoms.

Walls said if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you can go to free testing locations around the region to prevent delays in the hospital.

“We don’t want people to be statistics,” said Walls. “That’s not what we want, we will take care of you, we will absolutely take care of you, but we don’t want you to be a statistic.”

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