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Published on August 20, 2021

Johnston Health pauses elective surgeries requiring overnight stay

Due to the surge of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization, Johnston Health will pause elective surgeries that require an overnight stay. This change will take effect Friday, August 20 and will free up about 10 medical beds.

However, it will not be enough to meet demand, says Dr. Rodney McCaskill, chief medical officer for Johnston Health. During the peak of the pandemic in January, the hospital had as many as 72 patients with COVID-19. “Today, we have 60 patients with COVID-19, and we anticipate these numbers will continue to climb as the more contagious Delta variant spreads among the unvaccinated in our communities,” he said. “Most of our patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.”

Earlier this summer, Johnston Health had as few as four COVID-19 patients. Still, the hospitals were nearly full with patients sicker than usual after putting off preventive care and/or treatments during the pandemic, Dr. McCaskill says.

The pause is one of the strategies the hospital is taking to adjust operations during this stage of the pandemic. Also notable, the emergency departments at both hospitals are referring to transfusion centers and/or treating those patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies, which can reduce severe symptoms and prevent hospitalizations.

Johnston Health will re-evaluate its decision on elective surgeries in coming weeks.

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