CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – St. Mary’s Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital are just two of the many in the state that are overwhelmed as COVID-19 hospitalizations and numbers continue to climb drastically.

“We are seeing the peak of hospitalizations and were seeing the peak of cases and we are seeing it at a much higher rate than we thought we would,” said Dr. Kilkenny, CEO and Health Officer for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. “It’s very concerning to watch this surge be bigger than the last surge, when I don’t think anyone thought that to be possible.”

Cabell-Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Cabell County have reached an all-time high of COVID-19 patients, surpassing the previous peak in December 2020.

“The sheer volume of patients that they are taking care of is one thing, buts it’s also the duration of how long this thing has gone on,” said Dr. Larry Dial, Chief Clinical Officer for Mountain Health Network. “It’s been a marathon of continued stress. They continue to work day in and day out and take care of these people.”

As of Tuesday, there are 113 patients hospitalized at both hospitals, and 89% of those patients are unvaccinated.

“The vaccine continues to work and keep off the severity of the disease,” said Dr. Dial. “At this point in time the only way to assure you’re not going to end up in an ICU, hospitalized, or on a ventilator would be to get vaccinated.”

The delta variant surge isn’t making it easy on healthcare workers.

“The critical nature of the COVID patients brings with it additional stress,” said Dr. Dial. “The other challenge we have is many employees and staff are also out compounding some of the staff shortages with quarantine.”

Health officials are concerned as those numbers continue to climb.

“People are dying at a rate that we haven’t seen since the wintertime and we didn’t want that to come back,” said Dr. Kilkenny. “This is a very serious third wave and it looks bigger than the second wave.”

Health officials are stressing the importance of protecting not only yourself but those around you from COVID, and the ways to do that are getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, social distancing, and sanitizing.