Doctor: Farmington hospital is biggest critical care challenge in all of New Mexico
COVID-19 patient count approaches record high of 100 from last year
- The Department of Defense, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is sending a U.S. Navy team of 20 military medical personnel to the Farmington hospital.
- The U.S. Navy team is comprised of medical doctors, respiratory therapists and nurses.
- The Farmington hospital had 92 patients on Dec. 1, near the recent high of 99 patients on Nov. 23, according to data provided by the hospital.
FARMINGTON — San Juan Regional Medical Center is set to receive a 20-person team of military healthcare providers as the hospital’s critical care patient count has been pushing more than 220 percent of capacity for weeks.
The hospital was two patients away last week from tying its record number of COVID-19 patient count.
A U.S. Navy team of 20 military medical personnel is set to arrive at the Farmington hospital on Dec. 5, according to a military news release and the Associated Press.
The team is comprised of medical doctors, respiratory therapists and nurses.
Emergency Physician and Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness Dr. Brad Greenberg told The Daily Times the extra teams of healthcare workers the hospital has hosted have been solely needed.
The hospital is on its third Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) from the United States Department of Health and Human Services National Disaster Medical System.
The Navy team will take over for the DMAT staff when they leave.
The hospital had upward of 70 extra health care workers in early November, when it declared crisis standards of care.
Omicron COVID variant:First confirmed US case of the omicron variant detected in California: COVID-19 updates
Farmington hospital has biggest critical care challenge in state
Greenberg said the Farmington hospital has the biggest critical care challenge of all the hospitals in New Mexico.
He added the hospital’s census of critical care patients has been pushing more than 220 percent of capacity for weeks.
The critical care census was 236 percent of capacity on Dec. 1, according to Greenberg.
The hospital has 33 critically ill patients with 27 of those patients on a ventilator.
The regular ICU houses 14 patients, which has to be expanded as the number of critically ill patients increases, according to Greenberg.
“What that means is that the complexity of the cases, and the severity of the illness is very high,” Greenberg said. “And that means that it takes a lot of very highly skilled, highly trained people to care for these folks.”
He added he is proud of the work of the hospital's employees, as they have been rising to the challenge of the current COVID-19 surge of patients.
Greenberg urged the community to engage in COVID-19 safe practices and obtain a COVID-19 vaccination in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Greenburg said he wishes people would take to heart that how we do as a community is the sum of an individual's choices.
Statewide, 84.1 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations were from unvaccinated patients along with 89.3 percent of deaths tied to COVID-19 from Feb. 1 to Nov. 29, according to New Mexico Department of Health.
Near record COVID-19 patient admissions
The Farmington hospital had 94 patients on Dec. 1, near the recent high of 98 patients on Nov. 23, according to data provided by the hospital.
San Juan Regional’s highest COVID-19 patient count was 100 on Dec. 30, 2020, according to hospital spokesperson Laura Werbner.
It comes as San Juan County had the largest rate of hospital admissions per 100,000 people for Nov. 15 through the 21, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
The rate of 55.9 patients per 100,000 was the highest, with McKinley County in second with 33.1 patients per 100,000.
San Juan County fell to second place for the week of Nov. 22 through the 28th.
San Juan had a rate of 43.8 hospital admissions per 100,000 with De Baca County leading with 73.8 hospital admissions per 100,000.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e