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Hawaii’s largest hospital’s ICU are near capacity

August 17, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s largest private hospital system’s intensive care units are functioning at or near capacity this week amid an alarming surge of coronavirus cases on the islands, a hospital official said.

Some ICU beds were open at The Queen’s Health Systems hospitals Tuesday, but the units were “completely full” on Monday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

“Our intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fluctuates on any given day and time,” said Jason Chang, The Queen’s Health Systems Chief Operating Officer and The Queen’s Medical Center President in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Still, the hospitals were looking at canceling elective surgeries and procedures and diverting emergency patients to other hospitals.

“Queen’s is accepting patients who need emergency care for treatment such as traumas, heart attacks and strokes,” Chang said. “We remain committed to providing care by constantly evaluating our operations to ensure our doors remain open to those in need of emergency care. ”

But Chang said Monday the staff is being stretched thin.

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“They are tired, and there is a level of frustration when you know the COVID patient you are caring for was not vaccinated and it was largely preventable,” he said.

Chang said there is no indication that the surge in new COVID-19 patients will come to an end soon.

“So in two weeks the situation actually may be worse,” he said.

Hawaii, with a population of nearly 1.5 million people, has averaged 652 new cases a day over the past week and has a 7.5% positivity rate, according to state data. In early July, the state was averaging 50 cases a day.

Hawaii’s Department of Health Director Libby Char said the state is “on fire” and headed toward a health care crisis.

At least 308 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized statewide.