St James: Worst Surge Of Covid, Since March 2020

November 19, 2021

St. James Hospital officials are concerned about the rising number of COVID cases, and urge the community to take precautions as the holiday season ramps up.

“This is the worst surge we have seen since the start of the pandemic,” said Bryan O’Donovan, SJH president and CEO. “The numbers keep growing, including inpatients in our hospital and those seeking care in the emergency department, urgent care and primary care.”

“This is the time of year we normally see an increase in respiratory illness,” said Wen Zhang, MD and SJH chief of emergency services, “but we are very concerned about the unusually high number of respiratory patients who are COVID positive. In addition, patients are delaying their care and arriving at the hospital and clinics much sicker than usual.”

Dr. Zhang urges the public to continue taking precautions and to stay in touch with their healthcare provider regarding any respiratory illness or complications.

“With the holidays coming up, this surge has the potential to skyrocket,” said Dr. Zhang. “We ask people to protect themselves – wear a mask in public places, avoid large indoor gatherings, wash your hands frequently, and get the flu shot and COVID vaccine (or booster). Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their primary care provider for guidance.”

O’Donovan encourages the public to take advantage of local COVID vaccine and rapid testing clinics, as the hospital does not offer walk-in or asymptomatic COVID testing unless the patient’s care provider orders it.

He also continues to praise his team for their commitment and service to the community.

“We’re going on two years since the start of the pandemic, and are so grateful for our dedicated and excellent healthcare team,” he said. “It’s been challenging covering all areas but our team members have stepped up to assist wherever needed. We thank each and every one of them for their dedication and support.”

Because wait times in the SJH emergency department and urgent care have increased, O’Donovan also asked for the public’s patience during the surge.

“We are making every effort to minimize the wait times in our clinics, and we thank people in advance for their understanding during this extremely busy time,” he said.