‘Crisis of the unvaccinated’: San Juan Regional Medical Center struggles with COVID hospitalizations

Coronavirus New Mexico

FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – One facility in crisis standard of care, the San Juan Regional Medical Center, provided an update on the county’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases during a virtual town hall on Wednesday evening.

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San Juan Regional has struggled to deal with an influx of COVID hospitalizations, implementing crisis standards of care last week. City and county leaders along with the state health department’s deputy secretary were on hand.

“Our crisis right now, is a crisis of the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Brad Greenberg. Dr. Greenberg says of those hospitalized with COVID in San Juan County, 81% are unvaccinated. In the ICU, 91% of patients are unvaccinated.

The hospital says they’ve gotten some relief. About 70 healthcare workers were sent by the state and the federal government to help deal with the surge in hospitalizations. That includes registered nurses, paramedics, and respiratory therapists.

Officials say this helps but it won’t last forever. “They are, however, a short-term resource and we know that the volumes that we are currently experiencing are slated to extend into the next coming months,” said Suzanne Smith, a chief nursing officer at San Juan Regional.

Right now, the hospital is unable to transfer patients to other hospitals across the state making things even more complicated.

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