FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Parkview Health has increased available hospital beds and added staff as it deals with “near-record high hospitalizations” due to COVID-19 across the region.
The health network said Tuesday it has implemented “numerous processes” to maintain operations for both COVID-19 patients and patients with other care needs as COVID-19 patient volumes surge locally. Parkview said as of Dec. 12, it was caring for 250 of the district’s 342 confirmed COVID-19 hospital inpatients.
Still, Parkview was accepting patients and ambulances at all of its hospitals, it said, because it can flex capacity between hospitals and units.
“Even with near record-high COVID-19 patient volumes, we remain committed to doing everything we can to meet the needs of our community,” said Jeffrey Boord, MD, MPH, chief quality and safety officer at Parkview Health. “Our teams constantly assess capacity and operational flow. With rapidly rising COVID-19 activity, we are continuously adding beds and staff to care for more patients than we’ve ever seen in our hospitals before.”
Boord said slowing the surge in COVID cases was “critical.”
“We need the community to know that delaying care, whether for COVID-19 or for other needs, is not safe and often leads to increased severity of symptoms,” said Boord. “However, it’s critical that we slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact this surge is having on area resources, especially our valued co-workers. We are grateful for our care teams and support staff who continue to demonstrate world-class teamwork to care for the community.”
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To meet the critical care needs of the region, more than 240 patient beds have been added at Parkview Regional Medical Center (PRMC) and Parkview Hospital Randallia since the start of the pandemic. PRMC has also recently increased its ICU capacity by converting its specially designed rooms to care for higher acuity patients.
One hundred twenty-five beds were added to expand COVID-19 capacity at both hospitals. Additionally, the PRMC South Tower, an expansion that began prior to the pandemic, created 96 more beds at the hospital. Parkview Hospital Randallia also added 20 beds through renovation in June of 2021.
An additional 24 beds in the PRMC South Tower and 20 beds at Parkview Hospital Randallia will open when construction is complete in early 2022. Crews are also working to add beds at Parkview DeKalb Hospital. Once operational, the expansion could accommodate 46 additional patients, if needed.
To accommodate the extra beds and increased care needs, Parkview has hired more than 600 traveling nurses, providers and other clinical staff.
To help prevent hospitalizations, Parkview has provided more than 14,000 monoclonal antibody infusions, mostly in its emergency departments, since the treatment became available in late 2020. Monoclonal antibodies are given to COVID-19 patients with certain risk factors to help prevent hospitalization or death.
“While it’s impossible to know exactly how many patients would have been hospitalized without receiving monoclonal antibody treatments, many patients feel that monoclonal antibodies have led to their recovery,” said Sara Brown, MD, associate chief medical officer, PRMC. “In the last year, we’ve set up additional space near eight of Parkview’s emergency departments, improving efficiency and making more infusions possible for patients who are referred for treatment.”
Even with monoclonal antibody treatments available, vaccines remain the most effective way to reduce the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. As of today, approximately 83 percent of Parkview patients hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
“The large majority of hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated,” Dr. Boord said. “We urge everyone to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and receive their booster dose as well. Vaccines help protect not only individuals, but also our entire community. Together, we can help slow the spread of this virus and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or deaths.”
One year ago, on Dec. 14, 2020, Parkview administered the first COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Indiana. Since then, Parkview has administered more than 160,000 doses to the community, through its clinic locations on the PRMC campus and through pop-up clinics throughout the area. The Parkview Health COVID-19 vaccine clinic, currently located at 3718 New Vision Drive, Building C, Fort Wayne, offers first, second and booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Booster shots are now recommended for anyone age 16 and older. To make an appointment, visit ourshot.in.gov or call 260-266-0778 or toll free, 1-877-651-0748. Walk-ins are also welcome.