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Rochester General Hospital adding beds, greatly expanding emergency department as shortage mounts

Rochester General Hospital is expanding its hospital to enhance emergency room care. The hospital giant will build a structure outside of the emergency department in Rochester to expand care.

Hospital officials announced the change on Thursday. Rochester Regional Health Chair of Emergency Medicine Dr. Keith Grams said emergency department wait times have been determined by priority – a standard that will continue.

“Our team gets very creative to ensure we can get to patients as soon as possible,” Dr. Grams said. “Prior to the pandemic, we had about a 30 minute average wait time, and that has since climbed to about 40 minutes. We’re working to see what we can do to minimize that as much as possible.”

The hospital has around 78 beds between adult and pediatric emergency departments. However, current demand calls for around 150 beds.

While staff shortages are one major issue – actual access to beds have been a problem since the coronavirus pandemic began. “Direct and indirect effects from the pandemic, as far as staffing and some of the vaccine mandates, that’s kind of what we’re seeing as far as our staffing challenges,” he explained.

It’s not just COVID-19, though. “As far as COVID the disease, this is a small factor, but we are still seeing patients come in with COVID who require admission to the hospital,” Grams added. “Please, if you are on the fence, get vaccinated.”

Medical professionals across the board encourage residents to visit the urgent care for non-life threatening emergencies.