With the highly contagious delta variant spreading rapidly across the country, cases in the United States have increased by about 70% over the past week, according to the CDC.
The return of COVID-19 to the United States puts pressure on hospitals at a time when some of them are busy trying to catch up on surgeries and other procedures that have been put on hold during the pandemic.
With the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant, cases in the United States have increased by about 70% over the past week, hospital admissions have increased by about 36%, and deaths have increased by 26%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.
Some hospitals report record or near record patient volumes. But even for those who aren’t, this pandemic cycle is proving more difficult in some ways, hospital and health officials have said. Staff members are exhausted and finding mobile nurses to strengthen their ranks can be difficult.
I really think it’s a war and how long can you stay on the front lines, ”said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. And how many times do you want to come back for another period of service in the end, you just don’t want to.
In addition, many hospitals were busy even before the wave started, facing a backlog of cancer screenings, operations and other procedures that were postponed during the winter wave to free up space and costs. staff members, according to health care officials.
Eventually you have to pay the piper, and those things have now piled up, said Dr. James Lawler of the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
The fear now in some hospitals is that they will have to postpone non-COVID-19 care again and risk the potential consequences on patient health.
Dr Laura Makaroff, senior vice president of prevention and early detection at the American Cancer Society, said cancer screenings had dropped during the outbreak and had yet to return to normal levels in many. communities. She warned that delays in screening can lead to the detection of cancers at more advanced stages of the disease.
Deaths from COVID-19 and newly confirmed infections in the United States are still considerably lower than they were during the winter. But for the first time since then, cases are increasing in all 50 states. And the country’s vaccination campaign has slowed at a breakneck pace, with only about 48% of the population fully protected.
CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky has warned that the outbreak in the United States is turning into an unvaccinated pandemic, as nearly all hospital admissions and deaths are among those that had not been immune.
One of the most overwhelmed areas in the country is Springfield, Missouri, where public health officials this week pleaded with the state to convert a dormitory, hotel or other large space to care for COVID-19 patients less seriously ill so that the two city hospitals can focus on the sickest.
Mercy Springfield and Cox South have seen a seven-fold increase in the number of coronavirus patients since late May, Mercy dealing with a high number of pandemics and Cox is expected to break his own record next week.
In Florida, UF Health Jacksonville plans to set up tents in the parking lot to help deal with the overflow after the number of COVID-19 hospital patients doubled to 77 in the past two weeks. Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention, said the hospital expects to surpass its January high of 125 COVID-19 hospital patients in the coming weeks.
Before the hike, the hospital had started pushing to bring back patients who had delayed care amid the pandemic. Now he is discussing cancellation procedures, Neilsen said.
To tell someone, sorry we have to delay your hip surgery or procedure because we have too many COVID patients who are largely unvaccinated, that is just not what we are committed to do in health care, ”he said.
In Georgia, the University of Augusta Medical Center is on track as it handles medical procedures postponed due to the pandemic and faces a spike in respiratory illnesses that typically strike in winter, Dr Phillip Coule said. , chief doctor.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations have also started to hit around eight or 10 patients, up from one or two per day. While the numbers still remain well below the high of 145 in January, Coule said he was monitoring the situation closely.
In some ways, I feel like we’re a lot better off than before, he said, noting staff are safer thanks to vaccinations. In other respects, it worries us if we have to postpone routine care again what the outcome will be.
In California, Los Angeles County will once again require indoor masks, even for people who have been vaccinated. In the past three weeks, COVID-19 cases have doubled across 36 Kaiser Permanentes hospitals in California, to more than 400.
Dr Stephen Parodi, who helped develop the surge plans for Kaiser Permanentes hospitals, said he was confident they could handle the influx, noting the total was still below 20% of January’s peak .
But he said hospitals were already occupied with people presenting to the emergency room with more serious illnesses than they would have been had the problems been detected earlier.
At some point, illness isn’t waiting for us, he said. The ability to defer additional care when you’ve already deferred a year, a year and a half, is just not an acceptable option.
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