Mosaic Life Care reported 36 current hospitalizations related to COVID-19 Tuesday, a new high for the hospital.
The hospitalization increase ended up being the deciding factor for a mayoral order requiring St. Joseph citizens to wear masks in indoor locations. Before the mask mandate was decided on an email sent by Dr. Jane Schwabe, a surgeon at Mosaic detailing that the ICU was overfull.
Hospitalizations rose by 11 from the Monday report from the St. Joseph Health Department Tuesday morning.
St. Joseph Health Director Debra Bradley said it is essential to make sure Mosaic does not get overrun with COVID-19 patients.
“We only have one hospital, and we want to make sure that if we have a personal emergency or our family member has an emergency, that they’re going to be able to still take care of us. And right now, they still can, and we want to keep them there,” Bradley said.
Mosaic Life Care has 48 beds on their designated COVID-19 fourth floor. Dr. Edward Kammerer, Chief Quality Officer at Mosaic, said once the COVID-19 inpatient count gets to 48 there will start to be concern as they would have to open up the negative pressure 48-bed fifth floor which would require for them to move all patients that are currently on the floor.
“We have another 48 beds, but that requires us to stop doing something else, is really what it comes down to,” Kammerer said. “We have the ability to really take care of over 100 patients at a time with COVID inside of the hospital, the difficulty is that means you then have to stop doing something else, And of course, 90% of the people that are in the hospital right now don’t have COVID, which means they have something else.”
Mosaic currently has five COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit in a pod. Kammerer said that the hospital tries to provide as many ICU services to the fourth floor as possible so they don’t have to create another pod in the ICU and push out patients that are there for non COVID issues.
“The concern when it comes to ICU beds and these type of issues is, ‘How do we make sure that we provide the essential services?’ We may have to talk about stopping some of those elective things ts we have the nursing and the personnel to take care of the COVID patients if the numbers continue to go up,” Kammer said.
Staffing will be another concern Mosaic may have to address Kammerer said. He said taking care of a COVId-19 patient takes twice the nurses as a normal patient would take.
“Normally, we would have about four patients per one nurse. And so, that nurse is responsible for taking care of four patients. On the COVID ward, we broke that down to one and two, because you have to do a lot more for them, you have to put all your gear on in order to go in every time you come out, you gotta take your gear off, it just is a lot more time intensive,” Kammerer said.
According to Mosaic Life Care, there have been 18 COVID-19 deaths in the four-hospital system. In total, there have been 19 deaths in Buchanan County.