Beckley ARH addresses concerns and COVID cases surge

Local News

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– With COVID-19 cases surging in our area, you may be wondering how hospitals are managing the cases.

Administrators at Beckley ARH addressed concerns as hospitals across the country continue to struggle. The hospital has decided to implement a new requirement when it comes to visitation.

“You will be asked no matter what your plan is for here is to wear a surgical mask,” said Interim Regional CEO of West Virginia Jill Berry Bowen. “Many people have the cloth mask and we would ask that you either put this over that or wear it individually.”

Berry Bowen told 59News that all hospital staff have been wearing professional fit N-95 masks on floors with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Currently, the hospital has five patients on ventilators and 14 in-patient COVID cases. According to Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Blaine, cases are managed to the best of their ability but treatment options like antibody infusions are limited.

“We have limited supply in the state,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Blaine. “Although it’s been used successfully in the past, with the omicron variant it doesn’t seem as useful”

The hospital is also facing staffing shortages due to the ongoing demand caused by the pandemic.  

Currently, 98 percent of staff are vaccinated, but 42 staff members have breakthrough cases with mild symptoms, causing the administration to ask for outside help

“We’re bringing in additional staff as we can,” said Berry Bowen.  “We have travel staff here as well as all others but that is also stretched.  We have also received support from the national guard just days ago.  Even though they are non-clinical, they can be support.”

Hospital administrators have pleaded with the public to wear masks, be socially distant when possible, and get vaccinated and boosted when eligible.

Beckley ARH continues to host drive-through COVID-19 testing for free. The testing events take place on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southern Regional Clinic. 

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