The situation continues to get worse at hospitals across the state where the vast majority of COVID patients are unvaccinated and staying in beds for weeks, some even months.
Due to their length of stay, the situation is leaving little to no room for other trauma patients and with no end in sight to the current surge, actions like curfews could be coming.
Just one month ago, there were 50 COVID patients in the hospital, as of Sunday, Aug. 15, there are 300.
“So 274 of those individuals are unvaccinated and the other 26 have waning immunity, they’re very old, they’re our kupuna in general,” explained Lt. Governor Josh Green.
Intensive care units are at or nearing capacity. Over at Hilo Medical Center, some patients can’t receive the care they need.
“We do have a hold in the emergency department that requires intensive care or critical care,” explained Elena Cabatu, Hilo Medical Center Director of Marketing. “And we floated an ICU nurse down there to take care of this patient, there’s this critical patient has nowhere to go and receive critical care in our ICU, that’s how serious the situation is.”
“The hospital is very full. I was talking to the health supervisor, she is categorizing the situation as awful and heartbreaking and it’s her job to find a bed, and right now there are no beds,” Cabatu added.
She said HMC has one unvaccinated COVID patient who is on their 100th day at the hospital.
Cabatu said four weeks is the average hospital stay for an unvaccinated patient.
“So we are now really approaching the max, we’re going to cut back on pretty much all elective procedures in the coming weeks,” Green said of the current situation.
With 8,000 active cases statewide, health officials said the state can expect another 350 people to be hospitalized in the coming weeks.
“That means we’re going to have to scale back everything in society if that doesn’t change,” Green added.
“If this continues and case counts continue to be this high, the mayor’s, the governor, are going to have to consider the following, they’re going to have to consider curfews, they’re going to have to consider scaling back people going into any place without a vaccination card,” Green explained. “That’s exactly the opposite of what the non-vaccinated community wants, so I’m not recommending these things, I’m saying this is reality.”
Over the last several nights, people have gathered outside Green’s apartment complex protesting vaccines and mandates while he treats COVID patients on Hawaii island.
“If they want to protest, I think it’s perfectly their right, but they should do it in a respectful way at the state capitol toward me, and they shouldn’t scare other individuals from getting vaccinated because that is killing people. It’s very, very, very wrong, to scare others from getting vaccinated,” he said.
Green said everyone should lay low for a few weeks, avoid gatherings, and wear masks until cases start to drop.
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“We have to come together as a community. I don’t like mandates. I don’t. I respect people’s beliefs deeply. So there are options, but there will not be many options soon if we continue to see these kinds of hospital numbers,” Green said.