Health care centers and hospitals scramble for more ventilators and oxygen supplies as COVID-19 surges in the South. Tulsa, Oklahoma hospitals had significant oxygen shortages, leaving them no choice but to call 911 for assistance.
Dr. Jeffrey Goodloe, the chief medical officer for the EMS system that serves Tulsa and Oklahoma City, said that the desperate scenarios in their hospitals should serve as a warning sign for other hospitals that COVID-19 has once again taken its toll on a handful of states in US, including Florida, Oregon, Hawaii, Mississippi and Louisiana.
“If it can happen to one hospital, it can happen to any hospital,” Goodloe said. “There is no, ‘that is happening over there.’ There is here in a heartbeat.”
The pandemic sets record for great number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, short of staff, and scarcity of intensive care unit beds.
There is good news
(Photo : Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash)
Despite the average of 155,000 new infections every day in the country, some states rip something good from their continuous efforts and slightly declined their cases dramatically from earlier in August.
Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi which had fought the hardest battles slowed down their caseload over the last two weeks. Florida has even seen a dip in COVID-19 admissions in recent days, as well as hospitals in Springfield, Missouri where early epicenter of the delta variant-driven surged.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said that mandatory vaccine implemented across the country, including outdoors like restaurants, offices, sports stadiums and institutions, helped ease COVID surge.
“Importantly, we’ve accelerated the pace of first shots. In August, we got over 14 million. That’s almost 4 million more first shots in August compared to the prior month in July,” Zients noted.
It cannot be denied that death tolls are still on rise despite efforts, averaging more than 1,300 a day. Georgia and Oklahoma, among others, catch up with lack of capacity and supplies in their hospitals.
“We are watching our ventilator use very closely,” said chief medical officer Dr. Phillip Coule. “We are concerned about it.”
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Oxygen shortages in hard-hit hospitals
“Hospitals have started thinking if we are out, what are the options we are going to have to take,” said Andy Brailo, chief customer officer for Premier, a group supply purchaser for hospitals.
Florida had had ‘particularly acute’ supply of oxygen, along with Louisiana, Kentucky and Texas. “In some cases that may mean having to move patients. And that may mean going to much more invasive ways to make sure those patients are oxygenated.”
Patients using high-flow oxygen tubes was found effective in treating coronavirus, however, “the method uses up to three times more oxygen than treatment methods used earlier in the pandemic,” said Brailo.
Dr. Ryan Stanton, an emergency room physician in Lexington, Kentucky treating COVID said that doctors have begun discussing putting multiple people on a single ventilator, but so far, no doctors have attempted it, and it’s just a mere sign that they are getting at that critical breaking point.
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