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Wellsville, NY (November 23, 2021) – As of this morning, 55-percent of the medical patients at Jones Memorial Hospital were admitted with a serious COVID illness. This led to a delay in admissions from the Emergency Room yesterday. Ambulance squads were advised that depending on the patient’s condition they may have to wait until a bed became available in the ER.

Throughout the fall, Jones Memorial has maintained a COVID census of more than 50-percent. “It feels like for every patient who is discharged, two more are admitted,” Sandra Watkins, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Jones Memorial Hospital. “Since September, we have admitted 98 patients with COVID. When we talk about a 50-percent COVID census, it is important to understand that these are different patients each day.”

Like hospitals everywhere, Jones Memorial has experienced a staffing shortage that is – for the most part – unrelated to the state’s vaccine mandate. “I am so proud of our staff; despite this incredibly challenging time, they have continued to provide the care our patients expect,” said Jim Helms, CEO at Jones. “They have proven their commitment to the health of our community while minimizing delays or disruptions as much as possible.” Jones continues to work with UR Medicine affiliates and other community hospitals in the area on strategies to balance the number of patients between facilities as much as possible. The hospital has remained open and without diversions since the NYS mandate.

Mr. Helms also recognizes the sacrifices of our local ambulance squads. “The EMS teams have been phenomenal,” he noted. “We can’t thank these volunteers and transport agencies enough for all they have done and continue to do for our community.”

The best way to move forward is for everyone to get vaccinated. “It is unprecedented to have such a large percentage of our inpatients here for the same illness – especially because there is a safe, effective, lifesaving vaccine available,” said Mr. Helms, noting that Allegany County remains the lowest vaccinated county in New York State.

“The best way to support Jones Memorial Hospital and our local first responders right now is to get vaccinated.” The hospital has weekly vaccine and booster clinics on the following Thursdays by appointment (call 585.596.4114) or walk-in: December 2, 9, 16, and 30.

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