Lincoln’s Bryan Health will postpone new elective surgeries that require an overnight stay as the health system works to manage an influx of COVID-19 patients, officials said Tuesday.
John Woodrich, president and CEO of Bryan Medical Center, said the health system has seen its COVID-19 inpatients more than double in recent weeks.
“We need all of these available beds,” he said.
The announcement comes as the state again reached a new all-time high with 820 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s more than double the number reported three weeks ago.
Bryan’s new restriction will continue until Nov. 27. At that time, the health system will reevaluate.
Bryan, however, will not cancel any elective surgery that already is scheduled during that time, Woodrich said, because those patients have already made their mental and logistical preparations. The health system also will continue to perform elective procedures that don’t require an overnight stay.
If patients’ cases become more urgent, health officials will look at them on a case-by-case basis, he said. And if the health system starts to see a downturn in cases, it could loosen the restriction. However, he said, that’s not the trajectory they are seeing. Bryan won’t cancel surgeries scheduled in December, but it will limit the cases it’s scheduling during that month.
Woodrich said about two-thirds of the health system’s COVID-19 patients are from outside Lancaster County. While it’s committed to caring for such patients, the health system also is talking with hospital officials in other parts of the state about efforts to educate residents about how to prevent the virus’s spread and about keeping less ill patients in their facilities.
Bob Ravenscroft, vice president of advancement for Bryan Health, said the health system had 102 COVID-19 patients as of midnight, 34 from Lancaster County and 68 from other communities. An additional 13 were no longer infectious, and eight more were awaiting test results.
From March to the present, he said, the health system has treated COVID-19 patients from 57 counties.
Bryan earlier this month decreased elective procedures requiring an overnight stay by 10%.
Omaha-area health systems also have begun limiting or reviewing elective procedures. Methodist Health System earlier this month pared back elective procedures that could be safely postponed. Nebraska Medicine dialed back on surgeries that require a single night’s stay. CHI Health said some nonurgent procedures may be postponed.
Metro area hospitals on Tuesday reported 372 COVID-19 patients, up nearly 100 from a week ago. The number includes 120 in intensive care. An additional 42 were awaiting test results.