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Hospitals in New Mexico are nearing the ‘tipping point’ of the influx of COVID-19 cases



“From a ventilator perspective, we are comfortable,” said Dr. Mitchell. “We have the ventilators we need, maybe that won’t be the limit. Unfortunately, this way, we may not have doctors, nurses, or rooms, even for these patients.”

This is a similar story at UNM Hospital. The facility has reached its capacity, not primarily due to COVID-19 but other medical needs.

“The UNM hospital operates at full capacity for at least two to three months,” said Drs. David Pitcher, executive physician for UNM Health System and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. “Most of that is related to the delayed need for care as a result of the initial COVID wave. COVID-related illness acceptance is less demanding.”

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As of Friday, COVID-positive patients represent less than 10% of overall patient cases. Dr. David Pitcher on Friday had fewer than 10 COVID-positive patients on fans. However, as the hospital is already in capacity, they are beginning to place patients in areas with surge capacity.

“In the last week or so, and we pay attention to this, we are also seeing an increase in numbers in older age. How did that translate into demand for hospital beds and fans that remain visible but we give very close attention, “said Dr. Pitcher.

Officials with Lovelace Health System did not give KOB 4 the number of COVID-positive patients being treated. However, a spokesman, such as UNM and Presbyterian, said they have a plan to surge.

“As we at Lovelace continue to see increasing transfers from across the state, we have capacity in our hospitals and are coordinating efforts across our System to ensure that we properly manage patient flow and access. Our System has a roll plan and reviews it for lessons learned and best practices.We monitor PPE, bed availability, medications, respiratory medications and other items daily.

Lovelace and Presbyterian are reviewing current visitor guidelines, and may release changes next week. UNM will only allow guests under special circumstances.




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