Queen’s explains Oahu’s internal emergency as COVID-19 overwhelms staff



The Queen’s health care system today declared an “internal state of emergency” as the influx of COVID-19 patients to his hospital in western Oahu exceeded the beds available and the ability of staff to care for them.

“That means everyone is on deck,” said Jason Chang, chief operating officer of The Queen’s Health Systems and president of The Queen’s Medical Center.

Chang said 63 patients showed up to the emergency room at Queen’s Medical Center – West O’ahu at one time, 26 of whom were believed to have COVID-19.

“This is a crisis because this ER has 24 beds and 63 making it very difficult for us to provide the right level of care,” he said.

All 104 beds at West Oahu Hospital are occupied and as many patients as possible are being moved to Queen’s Medical Center in downtown Honolulu and possibly the neighboring islands, Chang said.

But that’s a challenge too, as these hospitals are also struggling to cope with the surge in patients as COVID-19 cases rise in the islands.

Earlier this week, Chang said the hospital system had run out of available intensive care beds, elective surgeries and procedures would be canceled, and more serious surgeries postponed if possible.

He said city officials are helping set up a triage tent in front of West Oahu Hospital with about two dozen cots. The National Guard can also be called in to help.

“It really is a crisis out there,” he said. “The number of new COVID cases is just getting higher and higher.”

Chang said residents of the area should still go to West Oahu Hospital in an emergency like a heart attack or stroke.

The emergency declaration applies to all Queen healthcare facilities. Queen’s expects 74 auxiliary nurses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to arrive on Monday. Overall, the state expects more than 500 health care workers to come to Hawaii to help with the increase in cases.

“It’s overwhelming our system,” said Chang, who urged residents to get vaccinated and stay home from social events. He also advised residents to call the Queen’s COVID hotline at 691-2619 for symptoms and medical advice.


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