Maine ski resort increases on-site health resources as COVID spike strains hospitals – NECN
Since the summer, Sunday River Resort has been planning ahead to manage the inevitable skiing injuries this season, especially now that Maine is hitting a record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
On Wednesday, skiers had been back on the slopes at Newry Ski Area for about a week, with Maine hitting a new record of more than 310 COVID-related hospitalizations and a new intensive care record of more than 100 on the same day, prompting a statewide pressure on hospital space.
“This year is a bit different, just look at the hospitals and hospital beds available,” said Karolyn Castaldo, Communications Director of Sunday River Resort.
Castaldo explained that the ski area has additional resources, many of them on site, in case someone with an injury or medical event cannot be taken to a hospital further away than usual due to capacity limitations. .
“We have an additional care facility here at South Ridge Lodge, we are able to care for a few more patients in-house,” she said. “We also have more patrollers with medical certifications on the hill this year so they can fix smaller issues.”
These patrollers work alongside on-site medical assistants, nurse practitioners and X-ray technicians from Sunday River’s partner, Western Maine Health.
For people who may need off-site care, Sunday River has traditionally partnered with “local ambulance services” to have “sufficient ambulances on site or within 10 minutes of the resort”.
However, for the 2021-22 season, the ski area is “broadening the scope” of the number of ambulance groups it partners with “in case we need to send one a bit further”.
NECN and NBC10 Boston skiers spoke on Wednesday to say they were happy to hear about the changes.
“It’s nice to know we’re here and it’s safer,” said Josh Luther of Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood.
“It makes me feel good. I’m a nurse, the more we can do the better off we are,” said Sandy Mayer of South Paris, Maine.
The increased resources are expected to remain in place for the duration of Sunday River’s 2021-22 season.