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Increase in COVID-19 cases leads to challenges at Wheeling Hospital

Hospital CEO Harrison said next few weeks will be 'trying time;' number of staff quarantined

Wheeling Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison speaks Tuesday outside the hospital's entrance about cost-cutting measures planned at the medical facility. (Photo by Mike Jones)

There are nearly 700 active COVID-19 cases in Ohio and Marshall counties, and more than 750 currently in Belmont County, according to figures from state and local health departments.

And with COVID-19 hospitalizations increasing throughout the state, Wheeling Hospital is seeing an uptick in patients.

Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison on Wednesday said Wheeling Hospital is at 75 percent capacity, and its intensive care unit is at 72 percent capacity. He said the hospital is “experiencing an increased number of COVID positive patients at this time.”

“We have opened additional negative pressure rooms in the hospital to isolate suspected COVID patients as well,” Harrison said. “We are managing, but it is stressful.”

Along with the challenges with COVID patients, Harrison also noted the challenges with COVID for his staff.

“The biggest concern is staffing. Many employees are either out with COVID or are quarantined due to potential exposure. The next several weeks will certainly be a trying time for all health care entities, not just Wheeling Hospital,” he said. “I would urge the community to be very cautious this holiday season about large gatherings. Try to limit gatherings to people within your household or with immediate family. Please wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing of at least 6 feet apart. If the community can do its part in helping stop the spread, that makes their local hospital a much safer place.”

Harrison’s message came a day after Ohio County reported its 15th COVID-19-related death. The person was a resident of a long-term care facility in Wheeling who was hospitalized at the time of their death.

As of Tuesday, there were 429 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in West Virginia, with 126 in the ICU, according to date from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

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