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PeaceHealth St. John again expands capacity to care for COVID-19 patients

August 24, 2021

For the second time in the past week, PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center is expanding the number of patient rooms dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients.

Due to a weekend surge that saw the hospital’s COVID-19 inpatient total jump from mid-20s to over 40, PeaceHealth St. John is working today to transform eight of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rooms into COVID-19 isolation units.

“The patients who are coming to us for care today are sicker than those who came in previous coronavirus waves,” said Jim Zolnowski, Director of Nursing at PeaceHealth St. John. “The delta variant is proving to be not only more easily transmissible, but also driving younger, sicker patients to us for care.”

In prior COVID-19 waves, PeaceHealth St. John was able to transfer its most severely ill patients to other hospitals for higher levels of care. That option is no longer available, as every hospital in the Pacific Northwest is working to overcome capacity constraints.

PeaceHealth is carefully studying forecast model projections to help understand and prepare for the potential threat of the current surge. “Unfortunately we are seeing steady daily increases in the number of patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19," said Cherelle Montanye, Chief Administrative Officer at PeaceHealth St. John. “We must do all we can to be ready for what may come. We have already begun the process of clearing space to erect an Alternate Emergency Department Site (AEDS) in our parking lot. We expect to have that work completed later this week in time to help us hold or treat patients safely.”

PeaceHealth St. John continues to strongly advocate vaccination for all who are medically able. “We hope that the FDA action today to grant full approval of the Pfizer vaccine removes doubt from those who have been hesitant,” said Montanye. “Our hospital, our caregivers and our community are counting on everyone to do their part in helping us get through this difficult moment.”

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center is a community-owned, not-for-profit, 193-bed acute care hospital and Level III trauma center located at 1615 Delaware St. in Longview, Washington. Recognized nationally as a Top 100 Hospital, PeaceHealth St. John provides a full range of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, medical, and surgical services. The region’s health care leader for more than 75 years, PeaceHealth St. John is one of ten medical centers in the PeaceHealth system. www.peacehealth.org