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Q: I read that Maui Memorial was over 100% capacity with zero COVID cases in the hospital. How can we prepare for a surge in COVID cases if our hospital is already overwhelmed?

We are aware of this rumor and glad to be able to provide accurate information and clarify what a hospital census is and how Maui Memorial Medical Center operates. First and foremost, I want to make it very clear that as of today, July 15, 2020, Maui Memorial Medical Center is NOT at max, exceeding capacity nor overwhelmed and it hasn’t been. Our inpatient capacity, or census, is at pre-COVID levels now which is and always has been typical of what we would normally manage in our day to day operations. In general, it is really important to understand that a census is a snapshot in time and that it is a very fluid number, as the movement of patients (admitted, discharged, etc.) is constantly occurring through the day, and this is typical of every hospital across the state and throughout this country. As the island’s only hospital, our census fluctuates constantly, but we always make accommodations and provide the room necessary to care for all our patients. The Emergency Department census has also seen an increase in patients, but we are still below our typical ED census (down 40% from normal). Our teams are highly trained, and we have the staffing and bed capacity necessary to care for all patients who need safe, compassionate, expert care, no matter our census.

Michael J. Shea , MD

Critical care medicine

Maui Memorial Medical Center
221 Mahalani Street
Wailuku, HI 96793