Skip to main content

Memorial Returns to Emergency Status

August 30, 2021

Media Contact: Megan Penny, Communications and Development Manager
603-356-5461 ext. 2264
MPenny@memorialhospitalnh.org

 NORTH CONWAY, NH — Just a few weeks after emerging from its emergency status due to COVID-19, Memorial Hospital has once again declared a Code White.

In an email to hospital staff, President Art Mathisen cited the recent surge of non-COVID patients requiring “highly specialized inpatient and emergency care” in a region where COVID-19 cases are rising and regional hospital volume is close to capacity. “We are keeping more patients at Memorial that we would typically move to another facility because there are no other beds available.”

According to the hospital, a Code White declaration is “an operational response” to the growing demands placed on the hospital and its resources and not a response to any particular case or incident.

“The Code White allows all of us to focus extra attention on our role in patient care – at the bedside or in supporting position,”    says, “and make certain each of us has the resources to continue providing excellent patient care. The Code White also reinforces the need for each of us to channel information up through your supervisor so resources can be planned appropriately and deployed quickly, and for communications and messaging to be accurate and consistent.”

The previous Code White at Memorial ended July 16 after 494 days. At that time, daily COVID-19 cases appeared to be trending downward, hospitalizations for COVID-19 were declining, and vaccine clinics throughout the region were bustling. Since then, a new COVID-19 delta variant has been surging, mostly among the unvaccinated, cases and hospitalizations have steadily grown, and the vaccination rate has stalled. State and national data show the increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations are primarily among those who are unvaccinated.

At the same time, Memorial and other medical providers have seen an increase in patients for non-COVID-19 care, including some elective services delayed during the pandemic. “We are busier now than we were prior to the pandemic,” says Memorial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matt Dunn. Both Mathisen and Dunn say increasing the vaccination rate is the easiest way to ease the volume on the health care system. Dunn stresses the track record now available showing vaccine effectiveness.

“We have several months of data, hundreds of millions of doses administered throughout the world, and data showing that vaccines reduce the incidence of COVID-19 infections and, if a break through infection occurs, serious illness and hospitalization is unlikely. Most hospitalizations for COVID-19 are preventable with a vaccine.”

The Memorial Hospital vaccine clinic, once open 5-days-a-week at the former Mt Washington Discovery Center in North Conway, is now limited to Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. due to low demand. The clinic can easily increase to almost 300 vaccines daily, but until that need arises the staff has returned to other patient care duties in the hospital.

Mathisen noted in his email to staff that the current situation differs from what was experienced in Spring 2020 in that more is known about COVID-19 and the hospital is doing more to continuing provide patient care while facing the virus. “Our mission at Memorial has not changed, he wrote. “We must do all that we can to care for the patients that come through our doors.”

###

About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Memorial Hospital is also home to The Merriman House nursing home, which provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. For more information, www.memorialhospitalnh.org  or call 603-356-5461.

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
Memorial’s newest pediatrician reminds parents “babies don’t come with an instruction manual”
Memorial Hospital’s newest pediatrician has some simple advice for new parents. Follow your baby’s lead. They’re the boss.
Memorial Hospital and White Mountain Community College partner to create Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program
Memorial Hospital recently welcomed eight new Medical Assistant (MA) students. The students are participating in the hospital’s first-ever Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program, in partnership with White Mountains Community College.
Memorial Returns to Emergency Status
Just a few weeks after emerging from its emergency status due to COVID-19, Memorial Hospital has once again declared a "Code White."
MaineHealth to Require Care Team COVID-19 Vaccinations as Condition of Employment
As MaineHealth seeks to limit the spread of COVID-19, vaccination will be a requirement for employment, with very few exceptions, as of Oct. 1, 2021.
Memorial Hospital Holds 41st Annual Golf Tournament to Support Enhancement of Pediatric Services
Memorial Hospital held its 41st Annual Golf Tournament on July 22 at the North Conway Country Club with 132 golfers in attendance.
MaineHealth makes significant workforce investment, raising wages for its care team members starting Aug. 8
In addition to a base wage increase for nearly all employees, the minimum pay rate across the health system will rise from $14 to $17 an hour, and market adjustments will be made for hard-to-fill roles.
Memorial ends its COVID emergency; stays prepared
Memorial’s emergency status – a ‘Code White’ – ends Friday July 16, 2021 after 494 days. Earlier this month, Memorial scaled back its COVID-19 vaccine administration and ended, at least for now, COVID-19 testing except as part of a health visit in the emergency department or walk-in clinic.
Memorial Hospital Changing COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule to One Day per Week and Closing COVID-19 Testing Center
With declines in vaccinations and COVID-19 testing, Memorial Hospital plans to reduce hours at its COVID-19 vaccine clinic and limit COVID-19 testing to only those with symptoms and as part of a visit to the emergency department or walk-in clinic.
Memorial Hospital and Settlers Green Join for June 26 Vaccine Event
Memorial Hospital will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Settlers Green in North Conway on Saturday, June 26.
New Memorial Pediatrician Advocates “Whole-of-Society” Approach To Connect Kids With Resources
Dr. Charlotte Helvie, Memorial Hospital’s newest pediatrician, believes patient care happens as much in the community as in the exam room.