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Evangelical Community Hospital at capacity

A hospital in Union County is at capacity, with patients waiting for beds.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Evangelical Community Hospital near Lewisburg is a busy place right now. 

According to President and CEO Kendra Aucker, nearly half of the 113 hospitalized patients have COVID-19. The hospital is at capacity.

"Every bed is full, and there's ten people waiting. The minute a bed opens up and somebody is discharged, there's another patient to go into that bed," Aucker said. 

That is causing extended wait times in the hospital's emergency department. 

To help reduce wait times, Evangelical Community Hospital created an emergency department surge alternative clinic. It's an offshoot of the hospital's emergency room and is staffed by primary care physicians.

"Who will assess whether it's an emergency that needs the full emergency room, whether it's something they can see their primary care physician the next day or whether they want to take advantage that there is a physician in this surge clinic who could see them," Aucker said.

Aucker says another concern is that all of the hospitals in the region are experiencing similar situations.

"There's no place to transfer patients. You make calls all around the state to try and find beds. ICU beds are very hard to come by in the state of Pennsylvania right now. There's just so many sick people," Aucker said.

Aucker is encouraging everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster.

"It's worth it to get the booster. It's time to get vaccinated," Aucker said.

Aucker says this should not deter you from going to the hospital if you are sick. You may have to wait longer, but you will still be seen. 

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.  

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