Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital increases bed capacity and staffing during COVID-19 surge

COVID-19 patients account for approximately 62% of the hospital’s inpatient admissions.

Information provided by the County of San Benito

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital is completing the final phases of the activation of its emergency response plan to address the recent surge of COVID-19 patients. The plan has been developed in conjunction with the San Benito County Public Health Department.

According to a recent release, bed capacity has increased dramatically by 96% with adding three more beds in ICU and 21 beds on the medical/surgical unit. Additional bed capacity is being added as the Ambulatory Surgery Center is in the process of being transitioned into an ICU unit with 12 beds. The hospital is also in the process of renovating space in two separate locations on the second floor of the Women’s Center to convert the space into patient care areas which can house an additional 16 patients if necessary. All totaled, Hazel Hawkins will have the capacity to house 77 patients (with six of those beds dedicated to OB/maternity patients).

The hospital received a waiver from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and approval from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) to increase their bed capacity from 25 to 77 beds during this patient surge, the release stated. Along with the renovations, hospital staff are also coordinating IT, electrical and equipment needs to go along with each new patient bed.

In order to accommodate the increased bed capacity, additional staff is also needed. Hazel Hawkins has been able to obtain additional staff through a staffing agency and through mutual aid from the San Benito County Office of Emergency Services. As of Jan. 14, the hospital will have 10 additional ER nurses, 11 ICU nurses, 10 medical/surgical nurses and five respiratory therapists.

As expected, the influx of COVID-19 patients has gradually increased over the past week to a high of 21 COVID patients today. As of Jan. 11, the ICU has seven COVID-19 patients and all seven are on ventilators. The medical/surgical unit currently has 22 patients with 12 of those being COVID-19 positive. The OB/maternity department currently is busy with five moms and five babies.

The hospital census fluctuates daily and as patients are discharged, the hospital is able to admit those who are holding in the ER.

COVID-19 patients account for approximately 62% of the hospital’s inpatient admissions. The rest of the patients being admitted have a multitude of other medical issues that require hospitalization.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, in cooperation with San Benito County Public Health, has additional contingency surge plans and will activate them accordingly as the need arises.

BenitoLink Staff