Some hospitals in Philadelphia area at or near capacity amid pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the curve flattens, some hospitals in the Philadelphia area are still on edge.

Francine Frezghi, a nurse at Temple University Hospital, said on Tuesday that her facility cannot withstand another surge.

"We are near capacity. You are basically describing what it would be like in a war, and we are already there," she said.

Frezghi said for the first time since the outbreak, the hospital transferred patients to other hospitals.

But it's not just due to bed capacity, but also staffing as more staff continue to contract the virus while on the front lines.

"It's emotionally and physically taxing," she said.

On Tuesday, the city announced an additional 475 cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 10,028 in Philadelphia. There are a total of 394 deaths.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Tuesday that while the city has reached the grim milestone of 10,000 cases, he believes the number of new coronavirus-related deaths has leveled off.

The state reports Philadelphia has more than 1,600 beds currently available, well above the state average per capita.

In Delaware County, Crozer Chester Medical Center, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and Delaware County Memorial Hospital are also at or near capacity, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.

Neighboring Montgomery and Chester counties also have the fewest beds available per capita in the region.

"It is the most population-dense area of Pennsylvania, so it is not surprising and so there are hospitals that are more challenged in the Philadelphia and southeast area," said Health Secretary Rachel Levine.

Temple University Hospital acknowledges it has few beds, but officials told Action News the bed capacity changes hour-by-hour. The city says the overflow site at The Liacouras Center is ready.


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