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COVID-19 cases creating a crisis situation at Camden Clark Medical Center

PARKERSBURG — The increase in COVID-19 cases is causing a crisis situation at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center.

As of Wednesday, Camden Clark was caring for 74 COVID-positive patients, many of whom are requiring increased oxygen flow, said Dr. Walter Kerschl, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.

“The continued increase of COVID infection in the community has severely taxed health care systems across the region and CCMC is no different,” he said. “We are in a crisis mostly due to unvaccinated population as the delta variant has caused a third wave of infection across the country and here in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

CCMC declared a Mini-Disaster on Tuesday, Sept. 14, and went on complete patient diversion for the emergency room and hospital until 7:30 p.m. that day.

The hospital had 77 COVID patients at that time. The issue came about due to a large increase in oxygen required to treat predominantly COVID patients, officials said.

West Virginia set a new pandemic high for hospitalizations. Hospitalizations reached 852 statewide this past week compared to the previous high of 818 on Jan. 5 compared to just 51 as of July 1, Camden officials said.

“The best and most effective way to slow the spread of this virus is to get the vaccine,” Kerschl said, adding the majority of current COVID hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients.

“There are some breakthrough cases in those who have been vaccinated, but these are less severe and often are admitted for a couple of days and discharged rather than those patients that are unvaccinated and end up in intensive care,” he said.

Symptoms of COVID can mimic allergies, flu, or colds. Children has presented with rashes and gastrointestinal symptoms.

The hospital’s ICU has been operating at capacity for several weeks, Kerschl said.

Camden Clark has also focused on its monoclonal antibody infusion efforts for eligible COVID patients which has reduced the need for hospitalization.

The medical center is seeing an increase in out-of-state patients as people have been traveling as well as more patients from Ohio over the past few weeks, said Dr. Gabriella Olson, Primary Care Physician and Hospitalist.

“Ventilators are being used for COVID patients who fail other methods of oxygenation such as BIPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) and high flow oxygen,” she said. “(Wednesday) we had seven COVID patients on ventilators and six of those have not been vaccinated.”

Camden has not completely done away with elective surgeries as it is operating under surge planning which can reduce such procedures if resources are needed for critical services, Olson said.

Kerschl said the situation is evaluated on a daily basis, even the weekends, and plans are adjusted “to make sure our patients are cared for optimally.”

The hospital has been able to provide critical care by placing some patients in the Cardiovascular Intermediate Unit, which is usually reserved for patients with serious heart issues, said Dr. Deric Bryant, Hospitalist Medical Director.

With the increase in COVID cases, other needs are still being met by medical personnel, including heart attacks, strokes and more.

“Any symptoms of stroke, heart attack, or difficulty breathing will continue to require emergency medical attention and these we are treating as emergent when they come to our ER,” Bryant said. “Our ER continues to manage patients with these symptoms.”

Around 52 percent of West Virginia’s 2 million residents are fully vaccinated.

Hospital officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“My advice to the general public would be to vaccinate if you are not already, and to wear a mask in public places particularly indoors,” Olson said. “Vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the need for hospitalization even if you do get COVID being vaccinated.

“We have a critical bed shortage and anything we can do to reduce the need for hospitalization is beneficial.”

Contact Brett Dunlap at [email protected]

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Camden Clark Medical Center - Memorial Campus

Criteria 1

Non-Discrimination & Staff Training

The Non-Discrimination and Staff Training criteria represents the foundational policies and practices in providing LGBTQ-inclusive patient centered care. These questions assess whether a facility has LGBTQ-inclusive policies and whether the facility shares these policies with the public and its patients and staff. In order to most effectively implement these policies, we also require training for staff in LGBTQ-inclusive care. All questions in this section are scored and must be met in order to receive full credit: up to 40 points.


Patient Non-Discrimination


Does not support: Patient Non-Discrimination Policy is LGBTQ-inclusive

Visitation Non-Discrimination


No Data Available: Visitation Policy is LGBTQ-inclusive

Employment Non-Discrimination


Supports: Employment Non-Discrimination Policy is LGBTQ-inclusive

Criteria 2

Patient Services & Support

The questions in this criteria all relate to best practices in the provision of Patient Services & Support—this could include providing LGBTQ clinical services, hiring a patient advocate for transgender patients, collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data in health records or providing training on LGBTQ inclusive medical decision making options, and more. In order to receive full credit (30 points) for this criteria, a facility must have implemented 11 or more of the recommended best practices. A facility may receive partial credit (15 points) for this criteria if it has implemented 6 to 10 of the best practices.

Criteria 3

Employee Benefits & Policies

The Employee Benefits and Policies criteria focuses on creating an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace for healthcare facilities’ employees—these efforts include equal benefits for LGBTQ employees, transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits, employee resource groups, LGBTQ-inclusive hiring efforts, employee transition support, and more. This criterion is divided into two scored subsections. In order to receive full credit (15 points) for the first subsection, a facility must have implemented 7 or more of the recommended best practices. A facility may receive partial credit (10 points) for this criteria if it has implemented 4 to 6 of the best practices. The second subsection is related to the provision of transgender healthcare benefits for employees and is worth 5 points.

Criteria 4

Patient & Community Engagement

The Patient & Community Engagement criteria focuses on community outreach and promotion to let the LGBTQ community know that healthcare facilities are a welcoming and affirming setting, working toward LGBTQ inclusion. Efforts to promote community inclusion may include, meeting with local LGBTQ groups, sponsoring a local pride event, developing LGBTQ focused marketing materials, and more. In order to receive full credit (10 points) for this section, a facility must have implemented 4 or more of the recommended best practices. A facility may receive partial credit (5 points) for this criteria if it has implemented 2 to 3 of the best practices.

Criteria 5

Responsible Citizenship

Points Deducted

No Penalty

This section focuses on known activity that would undermine LGBTQ equality or patient care. Healthcare facilities will have 25 points deducted from their score for a large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ blemish on their recent records. Scores on this criterion are based on information that has come to HRC Foundation’s attention related to topics including but not limited to:

  • revoking inclusive LGBTQ policies or practices;
  • facilitating the continued practice of healthcare providers that provide or promote LGBTQ related treatment or services to that have been discredited by mainstream medical and mental health organizations, including, but not limited to, “conversion therapy”;
  • engaging in proven practices that are contrary to the facility's written LGBTQ patient or employment policies;
  • or directing charitable contributions or other public support to organizations whose primary mission includes advocacy against LGBTQ equality or care.

In the HEI 2018, only one hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, received this point deduction. Click here to learn why.

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Camden Clark Medical Center opens Williamstown clinic

Staff Reports

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A ribbon cutting was held Thursday for the new Williamstown Primary Care facility in Williamstown. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

WILLIAMSTOWN — WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center celebrated the opening of its new Williamstown Primary Care facility with a ribbon cutting on Thursday.

The facility is located along W.Va. 14.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce, Williamstown Mayor Paul Jordan, Mona Mondo, sales director for Harbor Point Development, and representatives from WVU Medicine Camden Clark and the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin were present to make remarks.

The facility is the first of several commercial operations that will be located on the property.

“It is an opportunity for us to deliver healthcare to the community and to the residents here and to be part of a staple to this part of the county that we haven’t been part of before,” said Crystal Tolley, assistant vice president of clinic operations at WVU Medicine Camden Clark.

Three physicians, Dr. Skyler Tribble, Dr. Med Dan and Dr. Daniel Shank, are available for appointments by calling 304-865-5101.

“We are very pleased to have this clinic already open and meeting that community need,” said Steve Altmiller, the president and CEO of WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center.

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