Sunday, October 1

US hospitals struggle as Omicron Covid surge delays other treatments | Coronavirus

The surge in cases of the Omicron variant has not only flooded US hospitals with a record number of Covid-19 patients, it has also caused scary times and major challenges for people seeking treatment for other problems.

Less urgent procedures have been suspended. Waits in the emergency room are getting longer than usual.

In California, Mat Gleason said he took his 92-year-old father, Eugene, to a Los Angeles-area emergency room last week for a transfusion to treat a blood disorder. It should have taken seven to 10 hours, Gleason said, but his father was there for 48. He said his father called after 10 hours and asked for a blanket.

“He told me later, ‘I assumed you forgot about me,’” Gleason, 57, told the Associated Press. And yet, she wasn’t the only person in that room. There were dozens.

Gleason added: “I’m not envying the hospital at all. They did a great job.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of more than 144,000 people were hospitalized in the US with covid as of Tuesday, the highest level on record. Hospitals in states like New York and Connecticut that experienced early surges in Omicron are beginning to see a decrease in load, but many others are overwhelmed.

An independent draft by the University of Minnesota shows that covid patients occupy the overwhelming majority of beds in some communities. In Jefferson, West Virginia; Orange, Ind.; Columbia, Pennsylvania; and Pender, North Carolina, Covid patients account for more than 70% of all hospital admissions.

The shots seem to be holding up well. A study released Friday by the CDC showed that injections from Pfizer and Moderna provided 94% protection against urgent care and hospital visits for people on a booster dose.

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Data released Thursday by the CDC showed that unvaccinated people ages 50 to 64 were 44 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who were fully vaccinated and had a booster dose. The figure rose to 49 times more likely to be hospitalized if the unvaccinated were over 65 years old.

At a White House briefing, CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky said: “The data here shows the protection that vaccines provide and the importance of being up-to-date with vaccination against Covid-19, which, for tens of millions of Americans, it means getting your boost. dose.”

Hospitals say Covid patients they are not so sick like the ones from the last wave, which was triggered by the Delta variant. Many are being admitted for reasons other than Covid-19 and are testing positive in the process.

But Rick Pollack, CEO and president of the American Hospital Association, said the surge has had a widespread effect on the availability of care for non-Covid-related problems. More people are in hospital, while a large number of healthcare workers are out with Covid, worsening the staffing shortage that existed before the pandemic.

As of Wednesday, Pollack told the AP, about 23% of US hospitals were reporting critical staffing shortages.

Many people are unable or unwilling to seek care for symptoms that don’t feel like emergencies, Pollack added, saying that has led to delays in diagnosing conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that get worse the longer they go untreated.

Dr. Claudia Fegan, chief medical officer for Chicago’s Cook County, said some people, particularly older patients, have been avoiding routine checkups and care out of fear of Covid. As a result, “the patients we’re seeing now are much sicker,” he said, citing cases of advanced heart failure and cancer that might have been diagnosed earlier.

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Mike Bawden, a 59-year-old marketing consultant with a history of blood clots in his lungs, told the AP that he was unable to get an appointment to see his doctor in Davenport, Iowa, because his cough symptoms were too similar to those of COVID-19.

After nearly two weeks, Bawden went to an outpatient clinic, which sent him to an emergency room. He said he waited nearly six hours in the overflowing emergency room. A scan showed clots in his lungs and he was prescribed blood thinners. If it weren’t for the increase, Bawden said, he would have had a scan earlier at a doctor’s office.

“It’s always so easy being the ER quarterback on Monday mornings, but everyone was so nice, even the other patients,” Bawden said. “I think it’s important for people to realize that no one is the villain.”

A spokesperson for Genesis said: “We are not exempt from the challenges that medical centers in the United States are experiencing due to the significant impact of Covid. We urge people to get vaccinated.”

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