Governor Wolf sounds alarm on ICU hospital bed availability in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Governor Wolf sounds alarm on ICU hospital bed availability in Pennsylvania
During a COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Governor Tom Wolf sounded the alarm on ICU hospital bed availability.

Throughout the country, the surge in COVID-19 cases is translated into a surge of hospitalizations, with ICU beds approaching capacity in many locations.

On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf sounded the alarm.

"Modeling available from the National Institutes of Health metrics and the evaluation of the University of Washington at Seattle projects that Pennsylvania will run out of Intensive Care Beds in December if we do nothing," said Wolf.

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Health officials issued an order to suspend alcohol sales at all bars and restaurants - for one night only - beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

It is why Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced strict new restrictions to help cut the spread.

"If we run out of hospital beds and if you run out of hospital staff, if you're overworked to the breaking point, care is going to suffer for every patient including those in the ER for illnesses," said Wolf.

For the time being at least, hospitals across the Philadelphia region appear to be doing ok. At Chester County Hospital, for instance, they currently have about 16 COVID-19 patients and only one is in the ICU.

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"So our ICU capacity right now is very good, we have a lot of capacity in our ICU and we're doing fairly good," said Dr. Kevin Sowti, medical director and section chief for internal medicine and chief of staff at Chester County Hospital.

Even so, Dr. Sowti believes the new restrictions and guidelines are needed especially when you consider there are people out there who have the virus and don't even know it.

"A lot of patients are asymptomatic, they have no symptoms but they can pass that infection and it can affect a lot of people in a small space," said Sowti.

He and others say the good news is, vaccines are just around the corner.

"Just concentrate on the fact that help is on the way. We're going to get through this, but just a little longer separating yourself, wearing masks, and not being in small spaces with a large number of folks," said Dr. Sowti.