The Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida, on Jan. 11 was treating 80 covid-19 patients — a tenfold increase since late December. Nearly half of those admitted were for medical reasons.
The surge driven by the extremely infectious omicron variant helped push the South Florida hospital with 206 licensed beds to 250 patients. As the hospital was struggling with staff shortages, nurses and other caregivers had to be on the front lines of care. This led to an increase in cases.
The challenge is to find room for all covid patients and keep staffers safe, according to Dr. Scott Ross chief medical officer.
” “It’s no PPE issue,” he stated, referring to personal protective gear like masks. He also said that there is neither an oxygen or ventilator issue. It’s a matter of volume and making sure there are enough beds and caregivers .
Nationally, covid hospitalizations and cases are at their highest levels since the pandemic. However, unlike other covid epidemics, many covid patients are now coming to the hospital for different reasons. These infections are causing some health problems to worsen and making it more difficult to control covid’s spread inside hospital walls. This is especially true when patients present at earlier, more severe stages of the disease.
Although the omicron strain tends to produce milder cases than the covid variant, the combination of the sheer volume of “incidental”, hospitalizations and covid-caused hospitalizations could prove to be a turning point in a health system that is struggling to keep up with the ongoing pandemic. The rising covid rates in the community can also lead to an increase in hospital staffing, which could cause them to call in sick at record levels and stress an already stressed system.
Officials and staff at 13 hospital systems around the country said that caring for infected patients who need other medical services is challenging and sometimes requires different protocols.
Dr. Robert Jansen , Chief Medical Officer at Grady Health System, Atlanta, stated that the community’s infection rate was unheard of. Grady Memorial Hospital went from 18 covid patients on Dec. 1 to 259 last week.
Roughly 80% to 90% of those patients either have covid as their primary diagnosis or have a health condition — such as sickle cell disease or heart failure — that has been exacerbated by covid, Jansen said.
Although fewer patients have contracted pneumonia from covid than in the earlier spikes, Grady’s leaders continue to struggle with the high number of covid-infected health care workers. At one point last week, Jansen said, 100 nurses and as many as 50 other staff members were out.
At Atlantic Health System, one of the largest hospitals in New Jersey, about half of the covid patients were brought in by other reasons. However, not all covid patients can be transferred to the covid wards. CEO Brian Gragnolati stated that. Because they require specialized services for other conditions, hospital staff must take extra precautions when caring for covid patients. For example, higher-level PPE is worn by staff in areas like the cardiac wing to protect them.
All covid patients are admitted to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. Although about half of covid patients come there for other reasons, the majority are treated in the section that is exclusively for them. Dr. Hany Atallah said that all covid patients are treated at the hospital.
Regardless of whether patients are admitted with or without covid, they still tax the hospital’s ability to function, stated Dr. Alex Garza , incident command of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. This task force is a collaboration of some of the largest health care systems in the region. He estimated that 80% to 90% of patients in the region’s hospitals are there because of covid.
The Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida is having trouble releasing covid patients to rehabilitation or nursing facilities. Many places can’t handle more covids, Ross stated. Ross said that the hospital is having trouble sending patients home because they are concerned about putting their loved ones at risk.
This means that hospitals tell people to avoid the ER unless they are truly in an emergency. Dr. Jeremy Faust An emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston said Dr. Jeremy Faust
The sheer volume of patients showing up at hospitals and not knowing they have covid is alarming, Faust stated. Faust stated that incidental cases are more dangerous for staff and patients than those who have already been diagnosed. They tend to be in the early stages of the disease, which is when symptoms first appear. People were hospitalized during the later stages of the disease in previous covid waves.
In Faust’s analysis of federal data, Jan. 7 showed the secon