UNPRECEDENTED CAPACITY: COVID-19 patients fill up Monument Health Intensive Care Unit

Following a surge that's doubled the amount of cases in a surge from last year during the same time, Monument Health's ICU unit is full of COVID-19 patients.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Monument Health officials are sounding the alarm as its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) hospital beds are filling with COVID-19 patients.

“We are in unprecedented maximized capacity for our ICU’s and this can only be sustained so long into the future,” said Dr. Shankar Kurra, the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health in Rapid City.

Dr. Kurra is giving the hospital only three months with cases numbers staying consistent before major contingency plans may have to be put in place.

Plans that included bringing in nine members of the South Dakota Army National Guard – just two weeks ago – to assist in testing.

The current surge – mostly due to the delta variant- is double the amount of cases from a surge during the same time last year.

Currently, Monument Health has 39 ICU beds – all filled – 27 of which are younger COVID-19 adult patients. Most are ages 20 to 40 and unvaccinated. Dr. Kurra says these younger patients are even dying from the virus.

“I’ve not seen this in my 30 years in the united states as a physician,” Dr. Kurra said.

Monument is converting nine additional beds for its ICU – along with staff from around the hospital to meet the demand.

Adding beds that take more resources to monitor.

“The bed has to be attended to, not just by a doctor or nurse,” Dr. Kurra said. “Now you’re talking respiratory therapists, technicians of all kinds, that come into play, which is why expanding the ICU beds is not a small feat.”

Dr. Kurra is pushing vaccinations as we enter the time where the area saw another surge in November of last year.

All for the hospital that’s running out of space and healthcare providers that are getting by – for now.

“Infectious diseases have been conquered here because of vaccination,” Dr. Kurra said. “Go get the shot to save lives South Dakota.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News