ELKINS, W.Va. – Davis Health System officials are expecting inpatient and emergency department beds to remain near or above capacity levels throughout the Christmas and New Years’ holidays, according to a press release.

Chief Medical Officer Catherine Chua is asking West Virginians to help relieve pressure on local emergency departments by:

  • Taking less severe and immediate conditions to clinical services instead of the emergency room
  • Simply being patient and kind to medical workers and staff

“Our emergency departments are averaging higher volumes than normal, and with urgent care clinics and other care providers closed for the holidays, we anticipate even greater demand for care in our ED’s,” said Chua. “We’re equipped to address the need but ask that patients understand there will be greater wait times and possible delays in transferring high acuity patients to other health systems.”

A statement issued by the clinical leadership of West Virginia community hospitals predicts the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state since the pandemic began.

The reality is most hospitals throughout the state have more patients in their emergency departments than they do staff to care for them. This results in longer wait times, patients being treated in hallways and waiting rooms, and diversions to other medical providers where staff has capacity to provide acute care services.

Chua suggests that those with conditions that are not severe go to clinics and family practices to help take some pressure off overcrowded emergency rooms.

Even though clinics are often closed for the holidays, DirectCare of Elkins opens after Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 26, and DHS clinics reopen on Monday.

Even though Chua urged patients to keep the busy hospital in mind when heading to the ER, she reminded patients that serious symptoms should never be ignored and that they should call 911 and report to the nearest emergency department for any life-threatening illness or injury.

“We’re asking people to be a little more patient with our healthcare workers. They’re working as efficiently as possible to take care of everyone who presents to our ED. We’re going on two years of this pandemic and frankly, many of us are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. A little kindness goes a long way.”

Davis Health System operates emergency departments in Randolph, Barbour and Webster counties.