Riverside, California 2021-07-30 10:34:10 –
When Terry Skogin quit his job at the Titus Community Medical Center in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday night, there were five patients in the facility receiving COVID treatment.
Overnight, six more people suffering from severe coronavirus infections were admitted to a rural hospital in northeast Texas. Pushing the facility to its capacity limit, hospital CEO Scoggin was wary of what he called the “fourth surge.”
“We are working on it again,” Scoggin said.
That same night, hospitalizations in Bexar County increased by nearly 8%. Bexar county officials said Wednesday alone that about 100 people were admitted to a local facility with serious COVID on Tuesday alone.
“These numbers are staggering and horrifying,” said Eric Epley, CEO of San Antonio’s Southwest Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Board.
Hospitals and health authorities across Texas are seeing a similar dramatic surge, straining the already decimated healthcare system that has starved workers in the aftermath of the previous coronavirus surge.
In Travis and the surrounding counties on Thursday, 314 cases were reported at a regional hospital at COVID-19. This number has not been seen since late February.
In Dallas County, COVID hospitalizations have increased by 99% in the last two weeks, reaching 376 earlier this week. Local numbers are expected to reach 800-1,000 by mid-August, according to forecasters at the UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Overall, on Thursday, a Texas hospital reported 5,662 patients admitted with COVID. One week ago, there were 3,566 hospitalizations with COVID. July 1st was 1,591.
“I don’t think we can say it in strong enough words, how dangerous we are now,” Judge Nelson W. Wolff of Bexar County said at a press conference Wednesday. ..
Backed by highly contagious delta variants of the coronavirus that are contributing to the proliferation of cases not only in Texas but throughout the country, rising hospitalization rates for the population that first began to report an increase a few weeks ago. It extends outside many metropolitan areas. Today, they are found in every corner of the state, causing hospital plea for state-sponsored staffing and helping to cope with increasing pressure.
Trend Forecaster of the University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium could return to a facility with a hospitalization rate that collapsed in January, the peak of the pandemic, in most parts of the state on Wednesday. I said there is. If people do not resume masking and social distance.
In Florida, hospitals have already confirmed the number of COVID patients above the levels they saw during the worst of the pandemic, and consortium researchers told the Texas Tribune that Texas wasn’t too late.
Spencer Fox, Associate Director of the Consortium, said: “If we don’t do anything, we’re on a very big third wave crash course.”
Due to this situation, both rural and metropolitan health authorities are demanding more resources from the state.
“On behalf of 157 regional hospitals across Texas, please take immediate steps to provide additional medical staff that are expected to be needed in the short term due to the new COVID surge.” Said President John Henderson. The CEO of the Texas District Hospital and Regional Hospital Organization wrote a letter to Governor Greg Abbott on July 26.
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment at the beginning of Thursday.
At Mount Pleasant, Titus’ COVID units could typically handle 21 patients, but the facility currently has only nursing staff covering six of these beds. He said it was out of the question to move new patients to a nearby facility. Those who do not fit in the COVID unit are in the ICU or emergency department or are isolated in the delivery unit, but that is not a long-term solution, he said.
“In a better situation, we can’t find another hospital within another 100 miles,” Scoggin said.
Henderson said in a conversation with Chief Nursing Officer in northern Waco that the staff was on the verge of collapse after 16 months of physical and mental exhaustion in the fight against the pandemic.
In this region, including Hill and McLennan counties, COVID hospitalization rates are the fastest growing in the state, according to state health figures. On July 1, nearly 2% of hospitalizations in the area were COVID patients. By July 27, it had risen to almost 10%. Hill County is ranked in the lower half of the state for vaccinated residents.
In the nearby Temple / Killeen area, approximately 3% of hospitalizations in the area were patients with COVID on July 1. By July 27, it had jumped to almost 14%. In Bell County, only 28% of the population is fully vaccinated and is ranked in the bottom third of all 254 counties with at least one vaccination.
“Not all [the] Nursing staff are fully vaccinated, but those who are literally weeping know what they have experienced and are trying to re-experience how terrible it will be. ” Said Henderson.
Promotion of vaccination
Over 95% of hospitalized people are unvaccinated, officials in Bexar, Travis and other counties say.
Dr. Brian Alship, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the University Health System in San Antonio, said: “Staff witness this every day, which is very frustrating.”
Immunization rates have increased recently, but about 16 million Texas people have not yet been fully vaccinated. This is more than half the state’s population and includes children under the age of 12 who are still too young to receive injections.
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned about rising cases and incidences and demanded masks from vaccinated people and all schools in highly infected areas, including almost all of Texas’s 254 counties. did. Vaccination status or area.
The reason for the CDC’s reversal, when government officials revoked the vaccination mask in May, is through what new science calls “rare breakthrough infections” in people who have been vaccinated with delta variants more than before. This is because it indicates that it is more contagious. Virus version.
Although these infections most often do not cause hospitalization, according to CDC officials, they can still contribute to community expansion and endanger people who are not vaccinated. The best protection against it is, in the short term, masking to flatten the curve and increasing social distance, health officials say.
But so far, Republican state leaders have refused to revive the stay-at-home order, pandemic mandates, vaccine mandates, and other pandemic-era protocols, and local governments have created their own. Continues to ban.
Instead, Abbott and Texas Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstett are calling for more people to be vaccinated.
But UT forecasters, whose modeling program predicting a surge last summer has received national attention, can’t stop the surge that the new vaccination could hit the state in the first two weeks of August. It states.
According to the UT model, Texas could reach more than 14,000 COVID hospitalizations by August 12, without behavioral changes such as masking and other safety measures. That’s the same number Texas saw during the height of the surge in mid-January. Some Texas students begin to return to school.
“Vaccination is our end and a long-term solution to all of this to protect our community,” Fox said. “But now, in the midst of a surge, it’s not going to prevent the burden on medical capacity. What we need is a change in behavior as we saw between the summer and winter waves.”
Stop the surge
Local health and government officials may delay infections in the absence of obligations or state-wide protocols, and as states become more active in vaccination of people with public awareness campaigns and an increase in pop-up vaccine clinics. Desperately looking for ways to maintain the newly infected person is healthy enough not to enter the hospital.
At Mount Pleasant, Scoggin has approved monoclonal antibody therapy, a two-hour infusion of the outpatient-based drug Regeneron that reduces the severity of the virus if treatment is initiated early enough. By the way, his number is almost unmanageable. He said his facility currently treats at least five patients per day.
“We used to admit them because we didn’t give them that much at any point during the other surges, but this time we have more outpatients,” Scoggin said. “That’s a good thing, because we couldn’t handle more than we are in the hospital right now.”
Bexer county officials said Wednesday that a regional infusion center would open next week, keeping people away from the hospital. During the last surge, the Area Infusion Center treated up to 90 people per day and was a “great success,” Wolff said.
Officials said the county, along with other metropolitan areas, is seeking permission from the state to require masks for civil servants and schools.
Last Friday, Austin went to Stage 4 with risk-based guidelines for the first time since winter, closing some summerday camps and urging others to reinstate their customers’ masking requirements.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler wears a mask at this week’s city council meeting to find a way for the city to require employees to be vaccinated, even though Abbott has banned vaccination obligations. Said he wanted.
Henderson, head of the local hospital organization, said the worst part of the overall scenario could have been avoided, especially with more vaccine acceptance in the countryside.
“It’s tragic and avoidable,” he said. “We are our own worst enemy at the moment.”
Chris Essig contributed to this report.
Disclosure: Former Tribune President Steve Adler and the University of Texas at Austin are financial supporters of Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news agency partially funded by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. is. Financial supporters play no role in tribune journalism.
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This article was originally published in the Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/07/29/texas-covid-19-hospitals/.
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