Mount Nittany Medical Center sees ‘unprecedented’ strain on hospital bed capacity
Hospital bed capacity at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College is under "unprecedented" strain because of a combination of high numbers of COVID-19 inpatients and increasing difficulty discharging patients to area long-term care facilities, hospital officials said in a release Thursday.
“We continue to be very concerned about the high number of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the community,” said Mount Nittany Health Chief Medical Officer Upendra Thaker.
Thaker said the hospital was caring for 30 COVID-19 positive inpatients ranging from ages 25 to 94 as of Thursday. The daily average has climbed to 32 so far in October, compared to 27 in September. Last September, the average was two patients per day.
Thaker said the combination of COVID patients and longer hospital stays means Mount Nittany Medical Center has approximately 40 patients in the hospital each day who would not be there in normal circumstances.
“Simply put, this means we have fewer beds to care for other patients. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to reschedule surgical cases that require a hospital stay and we are experiencing longer service times in our Emergency Department," he said.
Dr. Thaker noted that hospital officials are hearing the same set of challenges from other regional health systems. “All of us are postponing surgeries or making other operational changes,“ he said.
All 67 Pennsylvania counties have a "high" level of COVID-19 community transmission as of Thursday, according to the CDC.
Among the 30 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Mount Nittany Thursday, six are fully vaccinated and 24 are not.
Dr. Thaker urges community members to get vaccinated, social distance, avoid large gatherings, wear a mask and wash hands frequently.