Heath officials: “It’s no longer a matter of if, but when to open field hospitals”

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE)— Health officials say hospitals in Rhode Island are nearly filled to the brink.

As many people still travel for Thanksgiving despite warnings, health officials are worried about a spike in cases following the holiday.

Hospitals are nearly filled to the brink and they’re concerned what another surge could do to the state’s healthcare system.

According to Dr. Laura Foreman of Kent Hospital, it’s no longer a matter of if the field hospital in Cranston opens, but when.

Dr. Foreman is leading the effort at the Cranston field hospital. She says they will likely have to open within a week or two as hospitals are just reaching full capacity.

At Kent Hospital, she says they are at full capacity. They’re still able to care for the patients they do have, but she says that is a struggle on a daily basis.

As the number of patients continue to rise, she says very soon hospitals will be stripped of resources and that’s when other care inside hospitals will suffer.

“It’s really hard to see that people aren’t taking this as seriously as they need to,” Dr. Foreman said. “Because every single person in Rhode Island has the power to stop this pandemic. If all of us pulled together we could shut this down within a month. But instead, people are not taking this seriously and they’re not being careful, and they’re putting all of us at risk.”.

Dr. Foreman also says this outbreak is worse than it was in the spring. She says the number of cases is higher, there are more hospitalizations and top of that, people are fatigued and aren’t taking it as seriously as they were then.

Inside the hospitals, doctors are tired. Dr. Foreman said morale is really down and it’s a constant battle trying to keep things afloat while others continue to do things like travel and not wear masks.

“In the hospitals we’re seeing our beds fill up with patients sick with COVID, we’re seeing people die of COVID, we’re seeing COVID just really wreak havoc on our state. But we go out of the hospitals and we see people just not taking this seriously at all. That feels very different to me from the spring surge and I think that’s why our numbers are growing so quickly now and why we’re not flattening the curve.”

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