Memorial Regional Medical Center reports uptick in ER patients, fewer COVID cases thanks to vaccines


MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WRIC) – With more people getting vaccinated, doctors and nurses at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville are seeing more patients for things other than COVID-19 and fewer patients with the virus.

One physician working at MRMC’s emergency room told 8News at the height of COVID-19, the ER didn’t have as many people coming in because people were avoiding coming to the hospital. ER doctors and nurses had a decrease in volume of non-COVID related things, but respiratory cases were at an all-time high and acuity was very high due to the virus.

The number of critical care cases spiked during the height of COVID-19.

Now that people are getting vaccinated, doctors and nurses seeing a little bit of an uptick in volume.

“Workload’s kind of been up and down,” said ER physician Dr. Joran Sequeira.

Dr. Sequeira said the vaccine rollout has made people less worried to get checked.

“I can go a shift and I’m not seeing as many COVID cases anymore. I’m seeing the other stuff. Like your chest pains, your abdominal pains now,” she said.

Registered nurse Rhonda Belote said that wasn’t the case at the height of COVID-19.

“People were afraid to come in,” she said. “People would’ve already had a heart attack or had a stroke and it’d be two or three days old.”

RN Rhonda Belote sets up an emergency department room ahead of a patient’s arrival. (Photo: 8News Reporter Sabrina Shutters)

The ER back then didn’t have as many people coming in and some staff were furloughed.

“There was a little bit of that calm before the storm,” said Dr. Sequeira.

Now, they’re only seeing numbers of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in the teens and it’s younger folks not vaccinated or older people deciding not to get the shot. At the height of COVID-19, ER doctors and nurses were seeing up to 50 COVID-19 patients.

For those who do have COVID-19, there’s a higher percentage of patients who are actually able to be discharged to recover at home instead of having to be admitted to the hospital or ICU.

A nurse at Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville, Virginia dresses out in PPE before walking into a patient’s room. (Photo: 8News Reporter Sabrina Shutters)

Dr. Sequeira and Nurse Belote are glad for the uptick, meaning people aren’t avoiding the ER anymore when they need help.

MRMC said there’s been a dip in healthcare workers getting COVID-19 because they were all vaccinated in December or January.

“A couple of the nurses had family members who ended up getting COVID but not vaccinated and they ended up being fine. So, that just goes to show you that the vaccine does work,” said Dr. Sequeira.

Although there’s been an uptick in ER visits, Dr. Sequeira said she’s not sure if ER volumes will ever reach pre-COVID levels again.

Dr. Sequeira and Nurse Belote said if you have anything going on that needs medical attention, don’t wait to go to the ER or call 911.

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