PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – AHN is taking care of patients from across the country as hospitals reach capacity in other states. This comes as West Virginia’s most recent numbers reached a record of almost 900 people hospitalized with COVID-19. On July 4, that number was 52.

AHN says they are constantly hearing from hospitals all over the country. It has a delicate balance of helping them and still meeting the needs of our region.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gave a morbid view on the situation.

“A lot more people are going to die,” he said during a briefing Wednesday. “If you have chosen to be unvaccinated, in my opinion, it was a bad choice. It was your choice.”

That is overwhelming hospitals in the Mountain State. Systems like AHN are taking patients from there, Ohio and some states as far away as Tennessee and Kentucky.

“We try to strike a delicate balance. We try to evaluate each case on a case-by-case merit basis, then make the best decision for everyone involved,” AHN Medical Director for the Transfer Center Dr. Maggie Theiman said.

She said there are a handful of out-of-state patients at each hospital campus. With our region being their priority, there are times they have to say no to bringing in out-of-state patients.

“Unfortunately it’s happening all day every day,” Dr. Theiman said over Zoom.

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Fellow health care giant UPMC said it’s deriving West Virginians at UPMC Western Maryland, which is near the Maryland/West Virginia border. At this point, patients are not being sent to our region.

For health care workers, another surge in cases is taking its toll.

“It is near impossible to be in health care right now,” Dr. Theiman said. “It’s extremely difficult right now.”

As to how we get out of this situation, Dr. Theiman didn’t have an exact answer.

“If I had the answer to that, I’d be the most popular person in health care,” she said.

She advised getting the vaccine and abiding by CDC guidelines.

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KDKA reached out to St. Clair Health, Heritage Valley Health and Excela Health to see if they are bringing in patients from West Virginia. At this point, they are not.