Hospitals urge only necessary ER visits during recent COVID surge

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FMH's emergency room is seeing a brisk business but officials say they can handle it. (Rochester Voice file photo)

ROCHESTER - Like hospitals across the state Frisbie Memorial Hospital has seen an increase in emergency room traffic due to an autumn COVID surge, but an HCA statement sent The Rochester Voice on Thursday indicated other factors also at play in the increased demand.

"These volume increases can be attributed to higher numbers of COVID illness, people arriving at the ER after delaying care during the pandemic, seasonal increases and lack of access to other avenues of care," according to hospital officials.

Earlier this week Wentworth Douglass Hospital posted on its Facebook page a more bleak picture, on Wednesday saying they'd had a record 34 COVID inpatients admitted as well as eight employees who had also tested positive.

The post also indicated the hospital was beyond its 100 percent capacity in all medical/surgical areas and above 130 percent within its Emergency Department, so overwhelmed they briefly declared diversion status, which means patients were directed to alternative medical facilities.

Frisbie officials added wait times to be triaged "have not changed even with the influx of demand," but warned longer lengths of stay for treatment may be involved.

HCA declined to release specific numbers regarding current COVID inpatient and ICU numbers.

Meanwhile, DHHS announced 986 new positive test results for COVID-19 for Wednesday, including 290 minors and 98 from Strafford County.

DHHS also announced eight additional deaths related to COVID-19 including one under 60.

Hospitalizations are currently at 327, almost double what they were just a month ago.

COVID-19 Summary Report

NH Persons who have contracted COVID-19 149,827

Recovered 140,539 (94%)

Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 1,656 (1%)

Total Current COVID-19 Cases 7,632

Current Hospitalizations 327

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