Genesis’ Milford Center taking recovering COVID patients

MILFORD — Some lower-risk patients who are recovering from COVID are being sent from hospitals to Genesis’ Milford Center.

Gov. John Carney, in his weekly COVID briefing Tuesday, noted the state has an agreement with the long-term care provider to help take some of the pressure off hospitals as COVID cases spike. Bayhealth and Beebe Healthcare are among the entities sending patients to Milford.

Hospitalizations have been consistently rising for about six weeks, including each of the past 14 days. As of Friday’s update, 363 people were hospitalized in Delaware from COVID, the most since the pandemic started.

The partnership with Genesis, which is paid for with COVID relief funds, is intended to help Delaware’s hospitals during this trying time.

“I know Bayhealth has released a number of those patients to the Genesis facility in Milford there, so then that opens up space for others that may be admitted to the hospitals,” Gov. Carney said. “So we’re very concerned about that. If there’s a message today, we ought to be concerned about that. We ought to be taking our individual efforts to protect that hospital capacity.”

While Genesis has four Delaware locations, none aside from the Milford Center are housing people recovering from COVID, per the Division of Public Health.

Gary Siegelman, Bayhealth’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, said Wednesday only a small number of individuals recovering from COVID are being sent from its facilities to the Milford Center.

These individuals are in the convalescence phase, Dr. Siegelman said, with many still requiring care like physical therapy before they can return to their homes.

Most nursing homes will not take COVID patients, he noted.

“Any additional beds we have to care for patients are helpful,” he said.

Like all health care entities, Bayhealth is bracing for what could be a bleak winter. After nine months, workers are fatigued, but at least everyone is more prepared now than when the virus first hit Delaware back in March.

Between its Kent and Sussex campuses, Bayhealth has about 380 beds, with the ability to expand should there be a surge. At the high point in April, Bayhealth had more than 100 COVID patients, a number it reached just a few days ago, according to Dr. Siegelman.

In a matter of weeks, it went from about two dozen COVID patients to three times that number,.

“If that number keeps growing dramatically over the next three to four weeks, it’s going to be a big challenge,” he said.

A host of new COVID restrictions, including a stay-at-home advisory, go into effect Monday. Officials are hopeful those can slow the spread this winter.

Genesis did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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