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MaineHealth to postpone some elective surgeries to make room for COVID patients

MaineHealth will reduce some surgeries that require a hospital stay post-surgery to make room for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Credit: MaineHealth

MAINE, USA — MaineHealth will postpone some elective surgeries to make room for those hospitalized with COVID-19, John Porter, spokesperson for MaineHealth confirmed to NEWS CENTER Maine Tuesday. 

"We’re not calling this a shutdown, but it is a dial back,” Dr. Joan Boomsma, chief medical officer of MaineHealth, said in a press release.

Boomsma said the exact number of surgeries and other procedures to be postponed can vary day-to-day depending on the demand for critical care. As recently as last week, surgeries and other non-urgent procedures at Maine Medical Center were cut by 30 percent, according to Boomsma.

Some examples of the surgeries that are being postponed include hip and knee replacements, some back surgeries and non-emergency abdominal or head and neck surgeries. In all cases, the procedures in question can be safely postponed, though Boomsma said the delays can have an impact on quality of life while a patient waits for care.

“We are in this situation because the Delta variant is surging among the unvaccinated,” said Boomsma. “The majority of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in our system have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and nearly all our COVID patients in critical care and on ventilators have not had their shots.”

As of Monday, 183 people were hospitalized with COVID in the state. Of those, 68 were being treated in an intensive care unit and 29 were on a ventilator.

As of Monday, there were 43 available ICU beds in Maine out of a total of 326.

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