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Hospital in Honolulu suburb fills up amid COVID-19 surge

A hospital serving a Honolulu suburb on Friday has filled up as the community faces a surge of COVID-19 cases.

All 104 beds at The Queen’s Medical Center – West Oahu are full, said Jason Chang, the CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems.

The Ewa Beach hospital has sent some patients to its sibling facility in downtown Honolulu. It’s also asked staff from other parts of the Queen’s system to come help.

The city has set up a triage tent outside the hospital that has 25 cots. The hospital may also add beds in hallways and other makeshift areas but not all patients will get rooms.

Chang said the hospital had 63 patients in its emergency department at one time, which is a crisis given the hospital only has 24 ED beds. Twenty-six of those in the ED were there with possible COVID-19 infections.

“Between all the normal emergencies and the COVID cases, it’s overwhelming our system,” Chang said at a news conference. “And so please, get vaccinated. That’s the first thing we’re asking everyone to do. And the second thing is, please don’t socialize.”

Chang said the ED will still treat those complaining of chest pains or other serious conditions but he said people with problems like a sprained ankle would be given low priority and would have to wait. He urged those with mild illnesses to visit an urgent care center.

Staff members are working extra shifts and are tired and stressed. He said the Queen’s system expected to get 74 nurses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday.

“But that’s still not until Monday. We still have to get through the weekend,” he said.

On Friday, Hawaii reported a seven-day average of 661 new daily cases statewide. That’s down from a peak of 717 earlier in the week but sharply higher than 128 one month ago.


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