CoronavirusLocal Coronavirus News

Actions

Hospitals reduce non-essential surgeries, seek more staff as models show COVID wave has yet to peak

Cleveland Clinic testing employee for possible case of tuberculosis
Posted at 4:29 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 19:51:42-04

CLEVELAND — As Summa Health reduces the hospital bed capacity at two of its campuses due to staffing shortages and burnout, other local hospital systems in our area are bracing for an expected influx of COVID-19 patients by reducing non-essential surgeries, as others are looking to fill dozens of open nursing and nurse assistant positions.

On Monday, Summa Health announced a 20% reduction in hospital beds at its Akron and Barberton campuses due to staffing shortages, which have caused significant strains on its system.

RELATED: Summa reducing beds by over 20% at Akron and Barberton campuses due to staffing shortages, burnout

Along with that reduction comes several plans to mitigate its impact, including temporarily reducing nonessential surgeries, a step that the Cleveland Clinic is taking as well.

According to a news release sent Monday by Cleveland Clinic, it is experiencing the highest volume of COVID-19 patients since last winter, the majority of whom are unvaccinated. They say they currently have about 460 COVID-positive patients at their Ohio hospitals, with 135 of those in their ICUs. This is more than double the number of patients who were hospitalized with COVID one month ago.

Cleveland Clinic representatives expect this will only get worse in the coming weeks. They said their models predict the highest volumes of COVID-19 patients will come in the next several weeks as the wave peaks in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Clinic did not specify which models it is using, but a model released on Sept. 8 from Case Western University's Center for Community Health Integration shows a potential scenario of nearly 3,000 cases per day in Cuyahoga County alone.

download (9).jpeg
Case Western Reserve University model released on Sept. 8 that predicts how many daily COVID cases Cuyahoga County could see in the coming weeks.

The latest non-preliminary data regarding case counts show about 500 cases per day in Cuyahoga County in mid-September. While it is not yet near the level predicted by CWRU's modeling, the daily case count is significantly higher than it was just a month ago.

Screen Shot 2021-09-27 at 3.41.46 PM.png
Daily COVID-19 case data for Cuyahoga County, with the gray area representing preliminary data.

“Healthcare is facing an increased demand for services, and like other hospitals across the country, our health system is also experiencing staffing challenges,” the Cleveland Clinic news release states.

As a result, the Clinic’s Akron General, Mercy Hospital and Union Hospital locations are scheduling fewer nonessential surgeries that require an inpatient stay. The hospital system has also had to move patients to different facilities as an increased demand for services, plus staffing shortages, have contributed to longer than expected wait times in emergency departments.

“Despite these challenges, we remain committed to meeting the needs of the communities we serve. Essential and urgent inpatient surgeries — including heart, cancer, pediatrics, transplantation and neurological cases — will continue as scheduled,” the Clinic said in a statement.

While MetroHealth did not explicitly tell News 5 that it is having staffing issues, it did say that as of August, there were close to 100 full-time nursing positions available and even more nurse assistant positions open.

“Right now, staffing is challenging due to an increased census and acuity, along with rising Covid numbers,” a MetroHealth representative stated to News 5.

In a statement to News 5, University Hospitals acknowledged the rising number of hospital and ICU beds being used in Northeast Ohio and stated that it currently has adequate staffing “to provide the best possible care for our patients,” and it has additional resources on standby if needed.

Dashboard_ Hospitalization Overview (9).png
Ohio Department of Health data on hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ventilator usage in Ohio hospital regions 2 and 5, which represent most of Northeast Ohio.

The latest data from the Ohio Department of Health show that in the regions that represent most of Northeast Ohio’s hospital systems, 26% of hospital beds and ICU beds are currently available, with COVID patients occupying 13% of hospital beds and 19% of ICU beds.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Download the News 5 app for free to easily access local coronavirus coverage, and to receive timely and limited news alerts on major COVID-19 developments. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Vaccinating Ohio - Find the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccines, Ohio's phased vaccination process, a map of vaccination clinics around the state, and links to sign up for a vaccination appointment through Ohio's online portal.

See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.

Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:

Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.

Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.

Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.

Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.

We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.

View a map of COVID-19 testing locations here.

Visit Ohio's Coronavirus website for the latest updates from the Ohio Department of Health.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Download our streaming app on your favorite device.  Click here for more.

Download our streaming app on your favorite device. Click here for more.