Q: With the recent increase in COVID cases on Maui, is the hospital at capacity?
Last week, Maui Memorial Medical Center was operating at a high capacity and this week has slowed down some. It’s not unusual for the hospital to be busy during the winter months, and we are currently within normal to slightly higher than normal range. But, it has been a busy time for our nursing supervisors who, with the guidance of nursing leadership, help to move patients from the emergency room where some need to be held until an inpatient bed becomes available. And, this high census is not because of an abundance of COVID-19 patients, but rather the impact COVID-19 has had on our long-term care (LTC) facilities and their inability to take newly discharged hospital patients. With recent delays in admissions to our local LTC’s we have had to keep patients who don’t need acute hospital care longer than anticipated. This is slowly improving and what is important to understand is that hospital capacity, or census, fluctuates constantly, it is not a fixed number or status. Most times you will see the census change from one hour to the next as we continue to move and discharge patients.
Any census numbers reported are more like a snapshot in time, but we do provide updates to the community on a weekly basis. We encourage you to review our weekly updates and submit any questions on our website at www.mauihealth.org/contact or by leaving a message at 242-2273. You can find weekly updates and answers to your questions during employee or community town halls (all posted publicly on our website), this Healthwise column (first and third Thursday), or in our weekly radio interviews every Thursday morning at 7:19 am on KPOA 93.5 FM.
While our census has been high, it is still manageable, and we have not had to cancel any surgeries, which would be one of the first considerations as part of our surge plan to address any capacity issues.
In addition to reducing outpatient and elective procedures, our surge plan includes the ability to increase from 219 to 300 beds, a medical grade tent to expand bed with a generator and negative-pressure rooms, a 60-day supply of PPE including N95 masks, 42 state-of-the-art ventilators, and 18 additional transport and bridge ventilators, and a plan to increase staffing as needed.
Maui Memorial is committed to compassionate, safe, quality care, and providing timely and transparent communication to our community. You can find more information about our surge plan, and the precautions we are taking to protect our community and employees, on our website at www.mauihealth.org/safe.