CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — When it comes to the emergency department patient overflows across the region, Michael Stapleton—with UR Medicine/Thompson Health in Canandaigua—says it’s serious. “This isn’t sustainable over the long-term,” he said. “We need help.”

Stapleton says there are various issues at play when it comes to bed space: COVID still circulating, patients who delayed care during the pandemic and are now much sicker, and a lack of nursing home beds in the community. “Out of the 107 patients I have, 20 of them are stable,” he said. “They no longer need acute care, but we can find them a nursing home bed.”

He says that part of the solution is for more people to get vaccinated. “The vast majority—the very strong majority of patients in our hospitals right now with COVID are unvaccinated,” he said.

“This is a big challenge we’re all facing right now,” he said. “There’s just a multitude of things happening.” Among those are long travel times, with some referrals going up to 100 miles away for care.

Another piece to this, he said, is the vaccine mandate for hospital staff. “There’s no hospital in this community that could afford to lose more people, whether you’re talking about a hospital or a nursing home,” he said.

Stapleton said many agree that the work that staff do across the region is incredible. “They’re coming in day in and day out, taking care of their community, working side by side with their coworkers.” He’s asking for patience. If you’re seriously ill, you’ll get taken care of right away, but if not, there might be a wait. “We will see you, but we just might not be able to see you as fast as we can.”