COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region have leveled off in the past seven days in the Ballad Health system, although inpatient numbers remain higher than January’s peak.

As of Wednesday, Ballad had 396 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals, while January’s peak was 361 patients.

“We’re treating 396 patients for COVID-19 in our hospitals today. While that’s 17 fewer than the peak of 413 patients we were treating last week, it remains to be an incredible burden on our team members and medical staff,” Ballad Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton said at a press briefing Wednesday morning.

According to Deaton, on Monday Ballad reached a new record of COVID-19 ICU patients with 112, and a new record of 84 COVID-19 patients on ventilators on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, Ballad hospitals had 104 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and 79 COVID-19 patients on ventilators.

“We have one pediatric patient being treated at Niswonger Children’s Hospital for COVID-19, which is down from eight earlier this week. Fortunately, this is the lowest number we’ve had in over a month, but sadly we are also treating three pregnant mothers with COVID-19,” Deaton said. “As we’ve learned, this virus can be very dangerous for pregnant women, so those patients are of great concern to us.”

In addition to the COVID-19 inpatients, Ballad is currently treating 259 COVID-19 patients through its Safer at Home program, which allows Ballad to monitor those patients virtually through tele-health programs without the patient being in the hospital.

According to Ballad’s Chief Infection Prevention Officer Jamie Swift, 92% of the COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Ballad’s system are unvaccinated, 98% of COVID-19 patients in Ballad ICUs are unvaccinated, and 97% of COVID-19 patients on ventilators are unvaccinated.

As for Ballad’s employees, 63% of all Ballad employees are vaccinated while 97% of Ballad’s medical staff are vaccinated.

Swift continued to urge residents in the region to get vaccinated.

“We could turn the tide today if we got everyone vaccinated that can get the shot,” Swift said.

Swift also expressed gratitude to those in the area who had been vaccinated and urged them to discuss vaccination with someone they know who has not yet gotten the vaccination.

“Please find one person in your life who is unvaccinated and have a serious discussion with them about why you would like them to get vaccinated. I ask that you go into the conversation with an open mind, sharing why they are important enough to you to have this conversation with and why you want them to stay well and remain in your life,” Swift said.

Swift then made a direct plea to those in the region who remain unvaccinated.

“For those who are listening and who may not yet be vaccinated. Please, I really beg of you, turn to a trusted source for medical information to learn more about the vaccine. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s why we’re here every week, with hopes that we can reach at least one new person and calm their fears,” Swift said. “I ask that you keep an open mind and think about your role in all of this. Please think about how you can help protect those around you who may be immunocompromised, struggling with heart disease, cancer, diabetes or obesity. Think about the health care workers in our region, and what it would mean to them to have your support. If we all do our part we can have a return to normalcy.”

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