January 13, 2022

Edward Hospital President and CEO Addresses Latest COVID-19 Surge

The latest surge in COVID-19 cases is driving healthcare workers at Edward Hospital in Naperville to experience a bit of déjà vu with where the community stands in navigating the pandemic.

Edward Hospital President and CEO Joe Dant says people who are unvaccinated are taking the bulk of the blow dealt by the virus.

According to Edward Hospital President and CEO Joe Dant, “Their level of acuity, their level of illness is also similar to what we’ve seen in some of the past surges. So, again those patients are pretty acutely ill. Their oxygen requirements are higher. Typically, those are the patients that if we have patients in the ICU it’s typically going to be that set of patients that are completely unvaccinated.”

COVID-19 Metrics

As of this recording, the number of patients with COVID-19 has fluctuated daily between a low of 113 and a high of 123 over the past 11 days. That figure includes anyone, including pediatric patients, who happen to test positive while visiting the hospital for an unrelated service and whether or not they are asymptomatic. A majority of the inpatients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in the hospital due to COVID-19, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Dant says something has to give. “It’s taken a toll from two accounts. One, it’s discouraging and disheartening that when we think we’re clear of this and numbers go lower, we have other surges that bring us back up again and certainly omicron this time around is partial to that. But we also think that people are just maybe tired. And generally, maybe all of us are tired of some of the restrictions. So, our staff feels that.”

Healthcare workers are not immune to the omicron variant of COVID-19 either.

According to Dant, “One of the things that is harder is we just have more staff out sick, either with something seasonal or with COVID or exposure to COVID. So, that’s just made then the stress on staffing that much harder.”

Staffing Challenges

At the same time, staffing has been at issue due to early retirements, turnover and burnout. With the latest surge, the leadership at Edward Hospital has paused certain services such as elective inpatient surgeries to free up staff to take care of COVID-19 patients.

Dant hopes the work of healthcare workers will not be for naught as the pandemic moves forward. “The same people who were claimed as heroes at the beginning of this pandemic are the same people still here fighting it everyday. We need the support from our communities, our patients, our families.”

Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.

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