As Covid-19 hospitalizations spike, some overwhelmed hospitals are rationing care

As Covid-19 hospitalizations spike, some overwhelmed hospitals are rationing care
Woody Marshall/News & Record/AP

Once again, Americans who don’t even have coronavirus are suffering consequences of Covid-19 patients filling up hospitals.

More than 101,000 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, according to data Thursday from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Now, some patients wanting urgent care won’t get it because so many beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.

“Before Covid, our ICUs were pretty busy. It’s because people were having car accidents and heart attacks and needing complicated surgery and going to the ICU afterward,” said Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, chief clinical officer of Providence Health System in Seattle.

Some of those patients are “being put on the back burner,” she said. “So anything that’s even remotely elective, we’re canceling those cases.”

In Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare activated its Crisis Standards of Care in the northern part of the state Tuesday due to “a massive increase in patients with Covid-19 who require hospitalization.”

Crisis Standards of Care are “a last resort” that’s only activated when “we have exhausted our resources to the point that our health care systems are unable to provide the treatment and care we expect,” health department director Dave Jeppesen said.

Gov. Brad Little pleaded for eligible Idahoans to get vaccinated.

“We have reached an unprecedented and unwanted point in the history of our state,” the governor said.

In Arkansas, only 23 ICU beds are available, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday.

He noted 91.5% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and 90% of Covid-19 deaths are among people who did not get fully vaccinated.

In West Virginia, hospitals are “overwhelmingly inundated with cases of people that are not vaccinated,” Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday.

The state has 813 people hospitalized with Covid-19 and set a new record for Covid-19 patients in ICUs — 252 on Wednesday, Justice said. A record 132 Covid-19 patients on ventilators.

Doctors and governors agree: The crisis impacting Americans with or without Covid-19 was preventable.

“We just need to use good sense and get ourselves vaccinated, and then we’ll stop this,” Justice said.

Children are paying the price, too

This school year, more kids are getting hit hard by the Delta variant — which is more contagious than any other strain of coronavirus students dealt with last year.

“This virus is really going for the people who are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

“And among those people are children who don’t qualify for the vaccine and children and teens who qualify but are choosing not to get it.”

Almost a quarter of Kentucky’s public school districts — 39 of 171 — have already had to close at some point this school year due to rising Covid-19 cases, quarantines or staff shortages, Kentucky School Boards Association spokesman Joshua Shoutla said Thursday.

West Virginia has had 68 school outbreaks in 31 counties, the governor said Wednesday.

“Ten schools and one entire county, Clay, are closed due to Covid,” Justice said.

Georgia’s fourth-largest school system moved one of its middle schools to remote learning “based on a high volume of positive cases and direct contacts,” Fulton County Schools said Wednesday.

And Connecticut College in New London said all classes and athletic activities would be temporarily canceled, according to an alert posted by the college. Remote learning will take place and be reassessed in seven to 10 days, the college said Tuesday.

Biden will detail new plans to fight the Delta variant

President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a major address Thursday on what’s needed to fight the Covid-19 surge.

The six pillars of Biden’s plan include: vaccinating the unvaccinated; further protecting the vaccinated through booster shots; keeping schools open; increasing testing and requiring masks; protecting the economic recovery; and improving care for those with Covid-19, a White House official said.

Biden will impose more stringent vaccine rules on federal workers by signing an executive order requiring all government employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 — with no option of being regularly tested to opt out, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Biden has previously encouraged businesses to require vaccines for workers. But officials have said they believe the private sector can do more to encourage people to get vaccinated, such as requiring proof of vaccination at restaurants, bars and other venues.

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