As hospitals all over Maine are dealing with a record number of COVID-19 patients, Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle has converted its Day Surgery Unit to an additional inpatient unit. 

Officials announced Thursday that this arrangement will increase the hospital’s capacity by eight beds.

Meanwhile, surgeries and cardiac procedures at AR Gould will be limited to emergency cases and outpatient rehabilitation therapy appointments will be delayed until further notice.  Staff from these areas, as well as many nurses from the hospital’s primary care and specialty care outpatient practices, will be reassigned to meet unusually high inpatient demands.

“This is an unprecedented time at the hospital,” said Jay Reynolds, MD, senior physician executive. “We are caring for more patients, patients who are more critically ill, than any other time during this pandemic. We are doing all we can to safely care for those who are within our walls. We also continue to offer monoclonal infusions as often as we can to prevent those with COVID-19 from having to be hospitalized when possible.”

Dr. Reynolds said the hospital remains consistently full, with patients waiting in the Emergency Department for a bed to become available.

“Some people are not truly understanding how dire the situation is locally right now,” Reynolds said. “To make things improve, we need people to take this seriously and to do all they can to protect themselves and those around them.”

He urged people in the community to do their part by getting vaccinated, masking, keeping distance from others and using proper hand hygiene.