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DENVER (CBS4) – As the pandemic wears on, hospitals are filling up fast. A normal visit to an emergency room can mean hours of waiting before being admitted to a hospital room.

Jack Stone had the misfortune of a high fever with pneumonia. So he came to Swedish Hospital last Saturday to the emergency room. There, he says, he waited 20 hours before he could be admitted into in a room.

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“They are overworked. They are really stressed because of all the people coming into the hospital it’s crazy,” Stone said.

(credit: CBS)

To be sure, not all hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated, but Swedish says it’s a large majority. Stone and his wife says that was the impression given by the hospital staff.

Lynne Lawlor says she kept checking on him as the hours went by.

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“Jack still in ER because there’s no rooms. There’s no room no bed.”

Such waits in hospitals for beds have become far too common. It’s the Delta variant on top of all the regular illnesses and mishaps that bring people in. The Colorado Hospital Association has said staffing problems are critical.

“Staffing has been more critical now than it has been in COVID, and hospitals are working around the clock,” said Julie Lonborg.

Emergency rooms have seen more diversions from other hospitals as well during the pandemic.
Jack Stone had a 20 hour front row seat.

“You don’t get much sleep there, but it is interesting,” he said after being released. He added the staff treated him very well.

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Swedish Hospital responded with the following statement:

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present many challenges including a recent surge in the number of positive cases in the Denver-metro area given the spread of the Delta strain. Throughout this health crisis, our goal has been to protect our colleagues, physicians and patients, and continue to meet the needs of our patients and community.

At Swedish Medical Center we have seen an increase in COVID-19 patients in the past several weeks, similar to what other hospitals are seeing in Denver. This increase, along with the ongoing needs of non-COVID-19 patients, causes the emergency room to reach capacity at certain times. On a regular basis, there is a continual flow of patients being treated and discharged from the ER, and also being admitted and discharged from the hospital. Our hospital leaders are constantly monitoring the situation closely and continue to plan by assessing resources and support to help meet the needs of our community including those non-COVID-19 patients who require our care. The health and safety of our patients and colleagues remains paramount and our unwavering commitment is to ensure that every patient receives the highest-quality care.

The large majority of COVID-19 patients being treated in our hospitals are unvaccinated. We strongly encourage people in our area to get the vaccine and follow the CDC’s recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus.

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