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Some area hospitals getting overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases

Unity is one of five hospitals in the Rochester Regional Health system.

Nearly 320 people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized and around 60 are in intensive care units in the Finger Lakes region.

Some hospitals are getting overwhelmed, and that’s affecting patients without the disease as well.

Dr. Ryan Hoefen is a cardiologist at Rochester Regional Health. This week, he’s been making rounds on patients in the ICU at Unity Hospital. He said that Rochester General Hospital and Unity are nearing capacity, and some patients are on beds in hallways at Unity.

“The hospital does feel safe, but a lot of patients who have other issues besides COVID pneumonia are in hallways hoping to get into rooms, awaiting care,” Hoefen said.

About a quarter of the patients Hoefen is seeing have COVID-19 pneumonia, he said, which is affecting their hearts. He said he’s seeing heart damage and cardiac stress in patients ranging in age from their 20s to 90s.

Credit provided by Dr. Ryan Hoefen
Dr. Ryan Hoefen is a cardiologist with Rochester Regional Health.

He said that if the current surge continues, or gets worse with the holidays, things could get more challenging for hospital staff. For now, he said, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

“This crush that we’re getting here at the hospital, it’s going to make it harder for people who are coming in with non-COVID issues, they’re going to have a hard time getting the resources they need if this continues,” he said.

Veronica Chiesi Brown, a spokesperson for Rochester Regional Health, said that they have plans in place to deal with different scenarios in terms of levels of surge, and they are prepared to take care of whoever needs their services.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.
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