“We have to recognize that our health system is in a very different place than it used to be,” Dr. Esther Chu, a professor of emergency medicine, told CNN on Saturday. “We have a huge number of healthcare workers just lost, we’ve lost at least 20% of our healthcare workers, probably more.”
“This strain is so contagious,” Chu said, “I think we all know many, many colleagues who are currently infected or have symptoms and are in quarantine.”
“It’s a different kind of one-two punch: people going into hospitals … and all the health workers are out of the workforce,” he told CNN.
In Ohio, the mayor of Cincinnati declared a state of emergency due to a shortage of staff at the city’s fire department following a rise in COVID-19 infections, saying in the announcement that if the problem is not resolved, it will affect first responders ” substantially weakened”. readiness level.
“We are seeing an unprecedented re-increase in patients in this pandemic,” Dr. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, warned on Saturday. “What is coming for the rest of the country can be very dire and they need to be prepared.”
Most Patients Still Not Vaccinated, Expert Says
And about 33.4% of people who are fully vaccinated have received their booster dose, as the data show.
“If you don’t get vaccinated, this group is still most at risk,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN on Saturday. “Most of the adults who are being admitted to my institution continue to be vaccinated.”
Dr. Catherine O’Neill, chief medical officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said hospital admissions and emergency department visits have tripled in the past week at her facility.
“What we are seeing is that … our vaccinated patients are not getting sick and our vulnerable, patients with multiple co-morbidities need vaccinations, but their admissions are low and they leave the hospital after several days. are capable of,” O’Neill said. “Our unvaccinated patients are the sickest patients, they are the patients most likely to be on ventilators.”
O’Neill said the hospital has become so dilapidated by the rising numbers, they are concerned they “won’t be able to care for patients the way we want to care for them until tomorrow.”
“We’re running out of tests, we’re running out of rooms, we’re drowning in the ER,” she said.
Georgia’s big three school districts return to remote classrooms
An average of 378 children were hospitalized with Covid-19 on any given day of the week ending December 28, according to data published last week by the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
That’s 66% more than the previous week – and breaks the country’s previous record, with an average of 342 children hospitalized daily, which was seen in late August and early September.
This time the virus is not specifically targeting children, Hotez told CNN on Saturday, but because more viruses are now spreading in communities, there is a greater chance that more children will be infected as well.
“It may be that in some school districts, where things are so tumultuous for Omicron’s case for the next few weeks, and it may be prudent to delay things a few more weeks,” Hotez said. “It’s going to be a very challenging time, people have to be patient.”
In Georgia, three large Atlanta-area school districts will start classes remotely.
The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) announced that all school district schools would operate for all students and staff through approximately January 7, citing rising cases.
“Due to the rapid increase in positive cases in the metro Atlanta area, students will begin virtual classes from Tuesday, January 4 to Friday, January 7,” said a statement Saturday.
“Our current plan is to resume in-person instruction on Monday, January 10,” it added. “All APS employees are required to report for a mandatory COVID-19 surveillance test at their work location on Monday, January 3, unless they become ill. Data collected from staff testing will be used for future planning. will be done.”
The move, the APS said, would allow students and staff to be tested and isolated and quarantined in accordance with CDC and health department guidelines.
CNN’s Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.
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