Worse than winter: Enloe Medical Center experiencing surge in COVID-19 patients

Rising COVID-19 cases in Butte County are bringing in an influx of patients at Enloe, more so than during the winter.

Posted: Sep 3, 2021 6:48 PM
Updated: Sep 8, 2021 11:30 AM

CHICO, Calif. - The current COVID-19 spike has staff at Enloe Medical Center worried about caring for those suffering from the virus.

Enloe told Action News Now the current surge in COVID-19 patients the hospital is seeing is the worst it’s been since the pandemic started.

Enloe’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marcia Nelson, says the spike is stretching them to their limits.

“This wave is now worse than the winter wave,” Nelson said.

In the past month, Enloe saw about 600 COVID-19 patients come into the emergency department.

The hospital currently has 69 people in the hospital with COVID-19, six of which are in the ICU and three are on ventilators.

“We have more patients in the hospital. We have more patients in isolation in the county,” Nelson said. “We are not out of this wave yet. September will be a long month.”

The hospital has more ICU beds available, but that may change soon.

“The impact of COVID-19 is hitting all the different regions in California really hard. The San Joaquin Valley is having to transfer patients out of their region now to other regions, such as ours, because they have fewer than 10% ICU bed capacity,” Nelson said.

Dr. Nelson says with the spike the hospital is reinstating parts of its surge plan from early on in the pandemic, which includes separating patients who look like they have a respiratory illness from those who don’t.

The hospital also decided to decrease their elective surgery scheduling again.

“We want to preserve our ability to take care of patients who have an urgent, emergent need,” Nelson said.

Health experts are urging the public to keep gatherings small over the Labor Day weekend.

Over 80% of patients that are currently hospitalized for the virus at Enloe are unvaccinated.

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