J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital leader says they are preparing for COVID hospitalization surge

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 7:52 PM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - November will likely go down in infamy when looking back at the coronavirus response in West Virginia.

To date, this has been the most infectious and deadliest month since the pandemic began, yet we are barely half-way through the month.

According to DHHR reporting, there are over 400 West Virginians hospitalized with the virus, a quarter of those hospitalized in the ICU.

This week, we saw coronavirus records shattered, breaking the daily infection record Saturday and the most infectious week to date.

“The biggest worry for us is that hospitalizations tend to lag two-to-three weeks behind infections,” said Dr. Ron Pellegrino, the C.O.O. of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Governor Jim Justice addressed the current hospitalization numbers during his coronavirus briefing Wednesday.

“We have capacity, but if we continue down this path, we are risking how much capacity we have,” said Gov. Justice.

Dr. Pellegrino says the hospital is currently at 83% capacity, a relative low, but they do have response teams prepared for any fluctuation that may happen.

“We do have the mechanisms in place to suspend some services to better serve those in need should the circumstances arise,” said Dr. Pellegrino.

After six months in the pandemic, he says they have had the opportunity to learn from their initial response to better their care and more thoroughly understand the trends in community spread.

“It is a steady learning curve. I think like most in medicine.. you never stop learning,” said Dr. Pellegrino.

If you are a patient who is considering non-emergent care, Dr. Pellegrino still recommends you get the care you need, but says they may alter the services allowed should there be a change in demand at the hospital.

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