Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in Alaska that has yet to enact the “Standards of Care in Crisis” provision adopted by the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services from Alaska, Adam Crum, last month, but is still working to treat a high volume of COVID-19 patients. As of Thursday, 842 new cases of COVID-19 were announced among residents of Alaska, including 152 in the Mat-Su borough.
“The number of patients treated by our hospital remains high. We support care for all patients who come to us for their medical needs. We encourage the public not to delay seeking care in a medical emergency. Currently, we are caring for 41 patients with COVID-19; 85 percent are not vaccinated. We also care for many patients with other health conditions, ”wrote Alan Craft, MSRMC director of marketing and public relations. “While the state of Alaska made the ‘Crisis Care Standards’ provision available, the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center did not enact this provision. To ease capacity and staffing issues due to the continuous high volume of patients, the hospital is temporarily reducing the number of elective procedures it schedules that require overnight hospitalization. “
There have been 916 cases among valley residents over the past week, and Mat-Su Ward’s seven-day case rate is 853.6 while the state’s case rate is 788.17. According to the DHSS dashboard, 10 MSRMC patients need ventilators and 35.1% of the entire hospitalized population is hospitalized with COVID-19. Of the 152 cases announced from the valley Thursday, 105 were from the five zip codes assigned to Wasilla, 31 from Palmer, six from “other,” five from Big Lake, four from Willow and one from Sutton.
There have been a total of 569 Alaskans who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and the current test positivity is 9.5%. There are only 24 ICU beds available statewide, while none are currently available at MSRMC. There are 180 people hospitalized statewide, including 31 on ventilators. Statewide, 58.5% of Alaskan residents have been fully immunized and an additional 31,441 are awaiting their second dose of the vaccine. In Mat-Su, 41.4% of residents are fully immunized and 4,476 others are awaiting their second dose, while 53.5% of all Valley residents have yet to receive a single dose of vaccination.
In her statement, Craft applauded the work of MSRMC staff in tackling the pandemic on the front lines.
“Mat-Su Regional continues to follow CDC guidelines, including masking all providers and individuals in a healthcare facility. We strongly encouraged employees to get vaccinated but did not make vaccination mandatory. For hospital and clinic staff who are not vaccinated, we implemented routine COVID-19 testing as an added safety measure last month, ”Craft wrote. “We continue to support and celebrate the tremendous work our team has done throughout the pandemic, and particularly in the last three months of this current wave. With funding from a state program, our hospital added 28 additional contract health workers – a combination of nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists – to support our clinical staff during this increase. “