Catholic Health announced on Thursday that it’s temporarily suspending inpatient elective surgery at its health care facilities across Western New York in response to the COVID-19 surge in the region and the possible need for open hospital beds in the coming weeks.

Healthcare system representatives said inpatient elective procedures will be suspended from Saturday through Dec. 5 while outpatient surgery procedures continue as planned. Surgeries considered urgent or emergent will be performed based on the discretion of surgeons.

Inpatient elective procedures are scheduled in advance, require at least an overnight hospital stay, and are not considered a medical emergency. Emergent procedures generally involve a medical emergency, while urgent procedures are those that if not performed will likely lead to more serious complications.

“We must proactively ensure we have flexibility in our bed capacity to care for the growing number of Covid patients we are seeing in our hospitals,” Catholic Health president and CEO Mark A. Sullivan said. “Making these necessary adjustments is the best way to manage what’s here now and prepare for what’s projected to come.”

The suspension of inpatient elective surgery will allow the system to free up hospital beds for the influx of Covid patients that are forecasted over the next two weeks.

“There is a high probability Western New York will be faced with bed shortages in the coming weeks,” Sullivan said.

Patients who have an inpatient surgical procedure scheduled between Saturday and Dec. 5 are asked to contact their surgeon’s office for more information.

“The week leading up to Thanksgiving and the following week will be critical as we monitor Covid admissions in our hospitals and trends across the region,” Sullivan said. “Our greatest hope is that with everyone wearing masks, washing their hands, social distancing, and limiting large gatherings, we can reverse this alarming trend.”

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