As ICU bed capacity nears limit, doctors stress importance of following public health orders | KOB 4

As ICU bed capacity nears limit, doctors stress importance of following public health orders

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: October 28, 2020 06:13 PM
Created: October 28, 2020 05:44 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As COVID cases continue to grow across the state, so is the concern over hospital capacity.

"My alarm is not so much with how full a hospital is on any given day, but just that the community in general isn't consistently following the things that could help them be heroes,” said Dr. Denise A. Gonzales, with Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Gonzales said hospitals will continue to make adjustments to be ready for whatever comes next. 

"We as an organization, at Presbyterian, are really very well prepared for that because we trained, we established what processes are going to be, we have a great supply chain in terms of ensuring that we have sufficient PPE for all of our staff,” she said.

According to a Wednesday COVID update from the state, 313 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Officials also said 78 percent of hospital beds are full and 79 percent of ICU beds are full. While the occupied beds are not solely for COVID patients, filling up hospitals could have other consequences. 

"Then you don't have access for other things that you need medical care for. Very important things like giving birth, bringing in a new life. If the hospital is full, then it's hard to do that,” Dr. Gonzales said.

The governor’s office is reminding New Mexicans to take the virus seriously. Dr. Gonzales said she's confident they'll be ready to handle things at Presbyterian, but would prefer not to test those limits.  

"But, ultimately, we would like to not have to do this. We would like for everyone in New Mexico to practice social distancing, wear masks, do good hand hygiene so that we don't have to put these things in-place,” Dr. Gonzales said. 

Presbyterian said they’re currently treating 94 COVID patients. At Lovelace, 53 COVID patients are receiving care and UNM Hospital said 10 percent of their patients are battling the virus. 

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