Elective surgeries resuming at FLX hospitals

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Elective surgeries are back on at hospitals across the Finger Lakes region. As COVID cases and hospitalizations plummet, the pandemic is moving into an endemic and things are slowly returning to some sense of normalcy.

While there is still a healthcare worker shortage that could continue to result in some delays, if and when you need care you should be able to get it.

There is currently just one person with COVID-19 on a ventilator in all of Rochester Regional Health’s hospitals, a stark contrast to just a few weeks ago but overall hospital capacity is still tight.

“Our hospitals are quite full because there are obviously other illnesses that we have to continue to care for,” said Dr. Robert Mayo, the Chief Medical Officer at RRH.

There is enough space though to start getting back to those procedures that aren’t critical but still very necessary.

“We are now starting to ramp up our elective surgeries again, the planning process for that began at the beginning of last week and so now those schedules are starting to roll forward,” Dr. Mayo said, “and there is a backlog, I don’t know the exact number but it’s a lot it’s a lot of people that have been waiting for either endoscopic procedures, some of them are follow-ups of known diseases, others of these procedures are for routine screening type purposes and so we’re anxious to care for these patients.”

But, the hospital systems have to ensure they have enough people to actually provide care. The pandemic drove many out of the health care field. Twenty-five to thirty percent of positions at both RRH and UR Medicine are currently vacant. The staffing issues would have gotten even worse.

“There was a great sigh of relief when the Governor stayed the booster mandate… yes, [there were hundreds of employees] not just nurses but yes we had hundreds of employees that had not been boosted so the mandate would was putting a lot of pressure on what we would do and how we would handle it,” Dr. Mayo explains.

Surgeons are currently working through their lists of procedures and will be in contact with those who need surgery. It’s likely to take a few months at least, to get through the backlog.