COVID hospitalizations up 400% at Morris Hospital

Morris Hospital has already canceled 3 surgeries necessitating overnight stays

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On Wednesday, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers reported a 400% increase in COVID hospitalizations since beginning of November.

Morris Hospital had 39 COVID positive inpatients at Morris Hospital on Tuesday, nearly half of the hospital's 80 total inpatients.

"Our ICU beds and intermediate care beds are all full," Mark Steadham, president & CEO of Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers said in a news release from the hospital. "Yesterday, we had three open beds on our medical/surgical units and five patients holding in our emergency department because we don’t have the right bed placement available. The situation is very serious and well beyond anything we experienced last spring.”

The hospital had just 10 COVID positive patients on Oct. 31.

“We are seeing the surge that many predicted would overwhelm our hospitals,” Mark Steadham, president & CEO of Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers said in a news release “It’s here and actually happening in Morris, Illinois.”

Morris Hospital has postponed three surgeries scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Those surgeries involve an overnight hospital stay and the hospital does not have beds for those patients, Steadham said in the release.

"If we’re not going to have a bed available for the patient, we can’t do their surgery," Steadham said.

For now Morris Hospital is proceeding with outpatient surgeries, even elective surgeries. It’s the surgeries requiring inpatient care that are being affected.

But the decision to proceed with even those surgeries will be evaluated daily, Steadham said in the release.

"The last thing we want to do is tell a patient that their surgery that’s planned for tomorrow has to be postponed," he said in the release.

In addition, Morris Hospital’s COVID testing capabilities have significantly diminished in the past two weeks due to a supply shortage, the release said.

The remaining supply of rapid tests are being reserved for admitted patients only. All other COVID specimen collections must sent out to a reference laboratory, with results taking 2 to 5 days.

During a telephone call with business and community leaders yesterday, Steadham noted that social gatherings, community events and even indoor dining (in some cases) haven't stopped. – despite Grundy County’s 25% positivity rate and restrictions imposed by the state.

Steadham pleaded for the community's cooperation. The reasons have nothing to do with politics, fear of contracting the virus or limitation of personal freedoms, he said in the release.

He said the situation is a public health crisis. And that crisis is limiting Morris Hospital's ability to provide medical services to all who need them.

Steadham exhorted people to stay home as much as possible and wear masks if leaving home is a must. He also said to avoid gatherings, to social distance and to sanitize hands.

"The Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team summed it up best when they said: ‘If hospitals are overwhelmed, care will suffer for those with other unforeseen emergent conditions, such as heart attacks, appendicitis, cancer diagnoses, and motor vehicle accidents, all common conditions,'" Steadham said in the release.