Marian Regional Medical Center staff share concerns about COVID-19 spread over Labor Day

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Posted at 7:45 PM, Sep 02, 2021

With Labor Day weekend ahead, staff at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria are concerned about the potential impacts of COVID-19.

Doctors and staff say the impact of the pandemic and the recent surge due to the Delta variant has impacted them in many ways, adding they worry about Labor Day weekend ahead.

"After every single holiday this year, after the New Year, Spring Break, and Fourth of July, we saw a surge about 10-14 days later and that's what we hope not to see after Labor Day,” said Marian Regional Chief Medical Officer Chuck Merrill.

Officials at the hospital say they wanted to hold a press conference Thursday to caution the community and remind them about the highly transmittable Delta variant.

"Part of the reason that we felt like the message was important to get out this morning is that this is not over. I know that things often seem back to normal out there,” said Marian Regional Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Trees Ritter.

But according to Ritter, they're not. Doctors and staff shared their frustrations and said they are exhausted and stretched thin when it comes to ICU capacity.

"With this recent surge, we've had to open another ICU and like Dr. Ritter said, the surge is back and we expect it to be back again after this weekend with another,” said Barry Feldman, who works at the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Feldman says their two ICUs consist of 24 beds which are almost full, but he adds they are prepared to open a third ICU, something they don't want to have to do.

"We want people to continue to do what they've been doing to protect themselves, which is staying home when you are sick, avoiding contact with people who might be unvaccinated and continuing to wear a mask,” Ritter said.

Ritter says about 99 percent of those in the ICU are people who are unvaccinated.