Cleveland hospitals delay surgeries due to COVID-19 spike

The organizations said they’re experiencing “unprecedented demand” for inpatient care, leaving many facilities at near-full capacity.

December 6, 2021 / Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Three Cleveland-area hospital systems – Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth – will be postponing some surgeries due to a spike of COVID-19 cases in the area, turning the clock back to the height of the pandemic when many facilities placed a freeze on elective procedures.

In a joint announcement, the organizations said they’re experiencing “unprecedented demand” for inpatient care, leading many facilities to deal with near-full capacity. 

Unvaccinated patients comprise the bulk of the new hospitalizations. Statistics released by the three systems reveal that more than 90% of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units are unvaccinated. Most of the vaccinated patients who are hospitalized have underlying health conditions that place them at greater risk.

While Cleveland Clinic and the MetroHealth system have seen a significant increase in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, University Hospitals have been slammed particularly hard, reportedly seeing a “record-high census” of such patients.

The surge has prompted the organizations to adjust the scheduling of non-urgent surgeries at certain locations, with an eye toward freeing up resources for patients “with immediate and life-threatening needs.”

The move also manages the demands of frontline caregivers, the systems said.


Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as President and CEO of Surgio Health. Chris has close to 20 years of healthcare management experience, with an infinity to improve healthcare delivery through the development and implementation of innovative solutions that result in improved efficiencies, reduction of unnecessary financial & clinical variation, and help achieve better patient outcomes. Previously, Chris was assistant vice president and business unit leader for HPG/HCA. He has presented at numerous healthcare forums on topics that include disruptive innovation, physician engagement, shifting reimbursement models, cost per clinical episode and the future of supply chain delivery.

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