COVID from a Community Hospital Perspective

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Put-in-Bay Daily™ presents this letter to the public from Nick Marsico, RPh Magruder Hospital, President & CEO, in a continuing effort to keep our communities safe and healthy.

My name is Nick Marsico.  I’m a pharmacist by training, but that does not make me an expert in COVID or infectious disease. It does provide me with a background when evaluating medical and scientific information, which helps me sift through the information and misinformation that’s out for everyone to consume. I’m writing this to tell a factual story regarding how COVID is currently affecting our local health and wellness and economies in the communities we serve. There are links attached for anyone interested in seeing where the information is coming from for anything that is not directly related to Magruder Hospital.

• The potential to spread the disease is extremely high right now. According to the Ohio Department
of Health, the incidence of COVID in Ottawa County over the previous 14 days is 508 per 100,0001,
which is over 10 times greater than when we “reopened” in June 20212.

• In June, July, and August 2021 we had more patients at Magruder Hospital get admitted and
discharged than any 3 months since summer of 2014.

• Over the past three weeks, almost every area hospital from Lorain to West Toledo has experienced
maximum capacity at some point, meaning they were unable to accept patients for admission or
transfer and may have even turned EMS away. We have had tremendous difficulty in finding beds
for our sickest patients, and we are being asked to take sick patients from outside of our area on a
regular basis.

Capacity for this point is defined as “staffed beds”. Anyone can make an argument that a
hospital listed as a 100-bed hospital should have 100 beds available. The reality is that in
our current environment, with workforce shortages and staff illnesses, most hospitals
cannot staff to full listed capacity. Hospitals define capacity based on how many patients
they can safely and effectively care for, not by listed beds.

• Seventy-seven percent of COVID Positive hospitalized patients at Magruder Hospital over the last
month have been unvaccinated. At Firelands in Sandusky that number is around 79%, and at Fisher
Titus in Norwalk that number is 92%.

• At Magruder, unvaccinated COVID positive patients have a significantly longer hospital stay (over 4
days longer) because they require much more care.

• Last week the Kaiser Family Foundation published a study that stated in June, July and August 2021
the U.S. had over 287,000 hospitalizations of unvaccinated COVID patients. It is assumed most of
those admissions could have been prevented with vaccinations, masking, social-distancing and
hygiene. Those hospitalizations are estimated to cost the overall health-care system $5.7 billion3.
This extra cost could eventually lead to higher premiums for all health care plans and higher costs of
services, which will most likely affect each person in this community. Vaccines are free now,
distancing is free, hand hygiene and masks are inexpensive.

• In the beginning of this pandemic, most private insurance plans waived the out-of-pocket fees for
patients who needed treatment because of COVID infections. Right now in Ohio the majority of
insurance providers are no longer waiving those fees, meaning that each patient will be responsible
to pay for a portion of their treatment. I guarantee that paying for a percentage of your hospital
stay for COVID treatment will be more expensive than getting a free vaccine or wearing an
inexpensive mask.
As a local non-profit and independent hospital, we run a small private business similar to every other small business owner in our area. We urge other local businesses to encourage and promote COVID vaccines and universal masking just as strongly as we do, to prevent having catastrophic losses of productivity with employees out sick. The cost associated with lost work, due to preventable illness, is not a cost that many can afford. At the end of the day, the longer this pandemic carries on, the more stress it adds to everyone’s daily life.

We should all be looking for ways to prevent unnecessary sickness, because it leads to tremendous
unnecessary burden that is felt deeply throughout our community. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Magruder Hospital is proud to be your essential healthcare provider and serve the communities in Ottawa County. We are here to support you, and work with you towards our mission of Improving Lives Together.

Most private insurers are no longer waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment

Unvaccinated COVID patients cost the U.S. health system billions of dollars