Saint Alphonsus sees big increase in requests for Covid tests

Saint Alphonsus Health Systems and its Ontario medical center are seeing an increasing number of patients needing care for Covid.

Steve Nemerson, chief medical officer for Saint Alphonsus, shared with the Enterprise what the hospital system is experiencing.

The takeaways:

POSITIVES IN PATIENTS: In May, 69 of Saint Alphonsus’ Ontario emergency department patients tested positive for Covid. In June: 103. The first 16 days of July: 154. These are patients who have the disease, but aren’t necessarily being treated for it.

TESTING SURGES: Testing demand at the Ontario Saint Alphonsus lab has increased by 500% over the last month.

EMPLOYEES SICK: 123 employees across Saint Alphonsus’ hospitals are out of work in self-quarantine. A month ago, the total was 25.

At the beginning of July, three patients were hospitalized for treatment of Covid in Saint Alphonsus hospitals. By July 14, that number increased to 41. Saint Alphonsus’ Ontario location is referring patients to Boise for now for hospitalizations.

CAPACITY A CONCERN: By Labor Day, if people don’t wear masks and the current trend continues, Saint Alphonsus expects as much as 50% of all hospital resources to be used for Covid care.

A CHANCE TO CHECK THE VIRUS: The economy doesn’t have to be shut down to slow this trend. Wearing a mask reduces by 85% the likelihood of the virus spreading. If enough people wear masks, wash hands and watch their distance, the hospitals will not be as overwhelmed as their projections show.

“The numbers are frightening, the trends are more than concerning, but we know that we have the opportunity to turn this around,” said Nemerson.


Mandate masks: Saint Alphonsus, St. Luke’s hospital systems warn of Covid overflow

News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin at [email protected] or at 541-235-1005.


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