Cleveland Clinic, UH Issue Statement on Increasing Number of Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients, Also Announce No Vax Mandates For Staff After All

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click to enlarge University Hospitals has a record high number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients - Courtesy University Hospitals
Courtesy University Hospitals
University Hospitals has a record high number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients

Northeast Ohio's three major hospital systems — the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth — today released a joint statement on the dangerous rise of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks and the ensuing effects it's had on care as the hospitals near capacity.

“As we continue to navigate the pandemic and adjust to the changing healthcare needs of our patients, our health systems are seeing unprecedented demand for inpatient care across our facilities,” the statement read. “This has led to our hospitals reaching nearly full capacity at many locations. Our organizations are experiencing a significant increase in unvaccinated patients being hospitalized because of COVID-19.”

The grisly numbers:

  • More than 90% of patients with COVID-19 in the ICU are non-vaccinated. This means that vaccination is protecting people from severe illness. Most vaccinated patients who are hospitalized have underlying health conditions.
  • The MetroHealth System is experiencing an increase in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.
  • University Hospitals is experiencing a record high census of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients.
  • Cleveland Clinic hospitals are experiencing a significant increase in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Because of that data, each hospital also announced that certain non-urgent surgeries that require inpatient care and hospital beds will not be scheduled over the next month.

"We are urging everyone eligible to please get vaccinated," the statement emphasized.

This comes a day after both UH and the Clinic announced they would backtrack on mandating Covid vaccines for staff after a federal judge in Louisiana this week issued an injunction against Biden's order mandating vaccines for healthcare workers.

“There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency,” Judge Terry A. Doughty wrote in the order. “It is not clear that even an act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional.”

UH and the Clinic issued statements the next day.

“Come Jan. 4, unless there is further legal action, caregivers may continue to provide patient care services regardless of their vaccination status,” UH said in a statement on Thursday. “Even though it is not a condition of employment at this time and CMS deadlines do not apply while the injunction remains in place, we continue asking our caregivers, in clinical and nonclinical positions, to get vaccinated or to seek an accommodation. We believe, consistent with the scientific consensus, that COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective way to protect our caregivers, patients and community.”

The Clinic said: “In light of these developments, we are pausing the implementation of our COVID-19 vaccine policy, which required all employees and those who provide services with us to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or an approved exemption with accommodations. However, to further strengthen our protection of employees and patients, we will put in place additional safety requirements for employees who are unvaccinated, including periodic testing for those providing direct clinical care."

MetroHealth, which way back in August instituted a vaccine mandate for its staff with an effective deadline of Oct. 30, said last month that it reached 99.94% compliance with only five employees facing suspension or termination for not submitted their vaccine status and only 12 employees citing the mandate as a reason they quit.

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