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Hilo Medical Center at 120% capacity amid COVID-19 surge

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HILO >> The largest hospital on the Big Island of Hawaii was operating at about 120% of capacity amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, straining employees and supplies.

Hilo Medical Center had 38 patients with coronavirus, including 10 in the intensive care unit, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported today.

Altogether the hospital had 17 ICU Patients, far beyond its normal 11-bed ICU capacity. Some ICU patients were being treated in the progressive care unit.

“As the largest hospital on the island, we cannot divert patients,” hospital spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said. “We have a plan to care for everyone who come to us for care.”

On Friday, the hospital opened a 16-bed overflow unit in its extended care facility.

Cabatu said the hospital was constantly assessing its campus for locations in which to care for patients.

Two dozen traveling nurses have arrived to help, but the vast majority of the work has been assumed by hospital staff, said Dan Brinkman, the East Hawaii Regional CEO for Hawaii Health Systems Corp.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases on the Big Island soared from 2.7 on July 4 to 138 today. Sixty percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

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