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Help Hospitals Weather Storm

State officials know West Virginia hospitals could be on the cusp of a multi-faceted battle as a potential winter surge of COVID-19 could coincide with an increase in the number of flu cases. With that in mind the state’s coronavirus task force planned a tabletop exercise to figure out how to take some of the weight off hospitals who have spent the past two years in an unfathomable state of stress.

“The unfortunate circumstance is that those who are unvaccinated and those who don’t get their booster dose are going to potentially prevent others from getting treatment and care because of the challenges that our hospitals will have,” said James Hoyer, leader of the state’s joint interagency task force for COVID-19 and vaccines. “Staffing is not an issue that’s easy to fix.”

Hoyer recently told another media outlet the marker for hospitals to be in a detrimental position is 60 daily admissions of COVID-19 patients across the whole hospital system. On a recent Wednesday, the number was 82. The task force has begun to look closely at flu admissions, too.

As a reminder, there are vaccines available for both COVID-19 and the flu.

But while we wait for those pieces to fall into place, state officials are right to plan for the best way to help hospitals weather upcoming storms. Gov. Jim Justice says the state is considering more “Save Our Care” funding, to reimburse hospitals and nursing homes for the cost of hiring contract nurses and deferred elective procedures. That could mean another $30 million to $35 million, mostly from the federal government.

We owe our hospitals all the help we can give them right now. That includes preparing for the worst.

Kudos to state officials who are working to do just that.

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