State’s hospitals now operating in crisis care mode


The state’s acute care hospitals,  ChristianaCare, Bayhealth, TidalHealth Nanticoke, and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic—Saint Francis Hospital, announced today they are now operating under Crisis Standards of Care.

“Due to the dramatic increase of Covid-19 infection in recent weeks, we are treating more patients in our hospitals and emergency departments than at any time since the pandemic began. The current demand for care surpasses the normal resources that we have available. Each of our organizations is taking steps to ensure that we are able to prioritize care for those with the greatest needs,” a release stated.

Crisis Standards of Care are used in times of emergency to guide decision-making when the demand for care surpasses the available resources, and contingency strategies designed to maintain conventional processes of care have been exhausted, a separate release from ChristianaCare stated.

Hospitals in Delaware have been taking steps in response to the surge in Covid-19, such as postponing not critical surgeries that require overnight stays.

Many health systems across the country have adopted the standards.


“Over the past two years, we have learned and adapted at every step throughout this pandemic,” said Ken L. Silverstein, M.D. chief physician executive at ChristianaCare.

“Through this time, we have deployed surge plans and taken many steps to stave off the need to implement Crisis Standards of Care. But the time has come when there just are not enough resources available to meet the growing demand. This is a pivotal moment when everyone needs to recognize the seriousness of the situation our community and our health system are in.”

For weeks, ChristianaCare has been operating at over 100 percent capacity in its hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care centers, and practices. Approximately 40 percent of all patients at Christiana Hospital, Wilmington Hospital, and Union Hospital are Covid-positive. The vast majority of these COVID-19 patients are symptomatic and were admitted because of COVID or require a higher level of care because of the impact of Covid on their health.

Additionally, as community spread has surged to record numbers, and as the highly contagious omicron variant has become the dominant variant, breakthrough cases among vaccinated people are becoming more common.

How the community can help (From ChristianaCare)

• Everyone age five and older should get vaccinated for Covid-19.
• Everyone age 12 and older should get a booster dose when they are eligible.
• Practice COVID-19 safety: Wear a mask, avoid gathering indoors, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently. It’s important to follow these steps even in places where safety guidelines are relaxed or where safety instructions aren’t posted.
• Do not go to the emergency room unless you are experiencing a medical emergency.
• If you’re sick, assume it’s COVID-19, and stay home except to get a COVID test. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better. Call your doctor if your symptoms are severe or worsening. Get care or call 911 if you have trouble breathing or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
• Do not go to the emergency room for a COVID test. Instead, find test availability in Delaware, the Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
• Patients with severe illness and injury should continue to access needed care at our hospitals and emergency departments. Those with less serious conditions should avoid the emergency departments and seek care from their primary care provider or one of our many urgent care centers. Patients can expect longer wait times for all services and limitations on visitors.