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Allegany Hope: Jones Memorial Hospital Reports 39% Of Inpatients Have Covid-19

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From , Casey Jones, Editor of Allegany Hope, 9/8/21

EXCLUSIVE: A reason the number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients at Jones Memorial Hospital at Wellsville is such a large percentage is that most vaccinated individuals who contract the disease aren’t being hospitalized.

This is the assessment today by James Helms, chief executive officer, as he expressed concern to Allegany Hope about increasing virus case numbers.

The hospital chief said the COVID-19 count today at the hospital is nine, one more than we reported Friday, or 39 percent of the entire patient population.

Some COVID patients have been admitted and other discharged over the weekend, reflecting the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) number of 12 admissions during the seven-day period ended yesterday which the federal agency reported this afternoon.

Helms said the number of unvaccinated in the county and resulting hospital admissions are of concern due to greater staffing and increased time challenges associated with COVID-19 patients who require additional care and caregivers getting in and out of personal protective equipment (PPE) when they enter and leave a room.

He said the hospital already is experiencing the same nationwide shortage of nursing staff that exists elsewhere, with the surge in COVID patients increasing this pressure.

The intensive care numbers being provided by the CDC, which showed as of yesterday a level of beds being used equal to that going back to May, may not be entirely accurate, the administrator said, noting that one or more of the six beds at the facility may be in use for non-critical care patients when the need exists.

He said that none of the patients are children or youth because pediatric cases normally are transferred to children hospitals in the region for more specialized care.

Overall, the hospital chief said, “we want people to get back to normal routines” which will occur by people being vaccinated so they aren’t exposing themselves or others to the COVID disease.

Those who are vaccinated, even if they contract the virus, are less likely to be hospitalized, Helms said. He reported Friday that only one vaccinated COVID patient was in the hospital, with none today out of the nine at the facility.

“That’s where the danger lies,” he said, when the number of COVID patients exceed the capacity of hospital staff to care of them.

In related news, the State Health Department reported six new Allegany County, NY, cases yesterday, bringing the total to 15 to date this week.

Allegany Hope hasn’t received a response to last week’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for daily data to enable a comparison between weeks, although attempted correlation between county and state numbers indicate last week’s total, which has been accelerating since the beginning of last month, is the highest since May.

The county also didn’t post its own seven-day data today to its COVID-19 online dashboard. The latest numbers we have received are from last Tuesday.

The state and the CDC both report information each day, but the county dropped public dissemination of daily numbers over the July 4th Weekend, forcing us to file the FOIL requests. The county also is providing only lump sum data now for a seven-day period ending Sundays.

The CDC reported 77 Allegany County cases today for the seven-day period ended yesterday but due to different county, state and CDC reporting times, it is impossible to correlate the different totals.

The charts accompanying this story show CDC hospitalization data since last fall. Other than admissions, information is in percentages which makes it impossible to determine actual numbers without knowing the base it is using.

COVID-19 Trackers which also provide additional and sometimes different information than the county are available at:
— Allegany County: http://bit.ly/3cHU2Rl
— New York Forward COVID-19 Tracker: https://on.ny.gov/2VIePLx
— New York COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: https://on.ny.gov/3qAiJmD
– CDC COVID Tracker: https://bit.ly/3cb9HYm.
— Schools Report Card: https://on.ny.gov/3ieQJkx
— Alfred State College: https://bit.ly/33rqlze*
— Alfred University: https://bit.ly/3xSMqSU*
— Houghton College: https://bit.ly/30rYtcv*
* NOTE: College data on the Schools Report Card and that on the individual institution’s website may vary.
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