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Patients were diverted from Camden Clark

PARKERSBURG — With more COVID-19 patients than at its peak in January, WVU Medicine Camden Clark was diverting patients Tuesday from the emergency room and hospital, although that ended Tuesday evening.

The hospital declared a “mini-disaster alert” early Tuesday morning, according to a statement from President and CEO Steve Altmiller.

“A mini-disaster alert is defined as notification from a hospital that a physical incapacitation of a necessary functional component of the hospital has occurred, making further patient care untenable,” he said. “Beginning early morning on Monday, CCMC started experiencing decreased pressure on its oxygen supply coming from (oxygen) storage tanks. The issue came about due to the extraordinary increase in oxygen required to treat predominantly COVID patients.”

The diversion was scheduled to end at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and officials planned to continuously monitor the situation.

A Camden Clark representative said as of end-of-business Tuesday, the COVID census was at 77, an all-time high.

The hospital canceled non-emergent surgeries and cath lab procedures and shifted to a supplemental oxygen supply, Altmiller said.

“We have taken additional steps to address the oxygen demand while ensuring safe and appropriate care for our patients,” he said. “We are currently adding emergency oxygen tank support to stabilize our systems. We are also developing permanent solutions to the problem.”

Altmiller said the continued increase in COVID infections is taxing health care systems around the region. On Monday, the Memorial Health System and eight other entities serving southeastern Ohio issued a joint statement encouraging people to get vaccinated, if eligible, and wear masks.

“Area health systems consistently report ICUs at capacity, staffing shortages due to ill staff and physical facilities operating at critical levels,” Altmiller said. “We want to thank our partners throughout the WVU Medicine system and oxygen vendors, as well as Marietta Memorial Health System, for providing support during this challenging time. We encourage residents to continue preventive measures and become vaccinated.”

As of Tuesday, there were 879 people hospitalized across West Virginia with the virus, up from 852 Monday. There were 267 in intensive care units, the same as Monday’s total, and 158 on ventilators, a slight decrease.

Active cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia surpassed 28,000, while additional deaths were attributed to the virus through ongoing data reconciliation, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Nine deaths — ranging from a 48-year-old Greenbrier County woman to an 87-year-old Summers County man — were confirmed since Monday’s update. Another 14 were added to the state’s total, making it 3,261 since the pandemic’s start, as the state Bureau for Public Health continued to reconcile data with official death certificates.

Among those was an 89-year-old man from Wood County.

“The continued loss of West Virginians weighs heavily on all of us, with the greatest sadness borne by family and friends,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch said. “Please protect one another by getting vaccinated today.”

Active cases in local counties as of Tuesday (previous day) were: Calhoun, 229 (240); Doddridge, 148 (142); Gilmer, 42 (43); Jackson, 294 (287); Pleasants, 116 (122); Ritchie, 204 (198); Roane, 195 (204); Tyler, 242 (250); Wetzel, 371 (387); Wirt, 126 (122); and Wood, 1,380 (1,344).

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