Latest COVID wave surging as hospitals struggle to find beds for all patients

Latest COVID wave surging as hospitals struggle to find beds for all patients

08/20/2021

Hospitals are going through dejavu as COVID cases rise

Many health care workers say this time is unlike any other because there watching people suffer while there’s a vaccine available. Furthermore, over the past three weeks covid hospitalizations have doubled across the country.

Homerville, Ga. – The coronavirus is surging nationwide, and hospitals are struggling as they fight to find available beds for patients. 

Coronavirus cases in the United States have surpassed 37 million and over 600,000 deaths have been related to the virus. While cases are ramping up again hospitals are out of beds and short staffed nationwide. 

Health care workers say the surge feels like déjà vu but this time there’s a vaccine available to help. 

Rural hospitals and major city hospitals are battling the virus and patient care is on the line. Angela Ammons is the CEO of Clinch memorial hospital, a rural hospital in Georgia that is struggling to provide for critical patients. 

“We still haven’t recovered from the first and second wave. We’re still holding on to a lot of people who believe that they cannot get COVID – that it is someone else’s disease or there protected because there young and healthy,” Ammons said. 

Clinch memorial hospital staff works during another wave of the coronavirus pandemic. (Jayla Whitfield / FNC) 

Hospitals are leaning on each other to fight another wave of the pandemic, but Ammons says it’s not enough. 

“I never would of thought that last year I would have to decide who would get a bed and who would not. I could be full at this moment because other hospitals have reached out to me asking if we can take patients on. …. I do not have the staff to be full,” Ammons said. 

Like hospitals nationwide, Clinch Memorial Hospital doesn’t have enough staff, beds, or supplies to handle another flood of COVID-19 patients. 

“A 90-day supply of PPE would’ve cost us about $2,800, now it costs me over $100,000. Plus, lost reimbursement, decreased volume, and all the other expenses we had to pay in hazard pay and trying to recruit nursing staff from agencies to come in – it really has hit us hard,” Ammons said. 

Michael Scherneck, CEO of Southeast Georgia Health System, says there doesn’t seem to be and end in sight and soon there may not be enough nurses for every patient. 

“We could very well find ourselves to the point where we’re just not able to provide the level of care that we would like to provide to people,” Scherneck said. 

Clinch memorial hospital ER nurse practitioner prepares to visit a patient diagnosed with the coronavirus. (Jayla Whitfield / FNC) 

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services COVID hospitalizations have doubled over the past three weeks.

Julie Youngblood has worked as an ER nurse practitioner at Clinch Memorial Hospital throughout the entire pandemic.  

“More times than not we’re calling 30 to 40 places and trying to find a bed,” Youngblood said. 

Youngblood says hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and surrounding areas are at capacity and everyone is overwhelmed.

“It’s not just COVID patients we don’t have beds for — cardiac patients any kind of medical problem the whole system is overwhelmed,” Youngblood said. 

Cheryl Lee, the director of nursing at Clinch Memorial, says she has treated dozens of COVID patients. 

Hospital supplies are being used hundreds of times of day to combat another wave of the virus. (Jayla Whitfield / FNC) 

“The ones I’ve saw in the emergency department … they are very afraid that they may die and they are regretful because at that time you can’t get the vaccine,” Lee said. 

Lee says the virus is preventing them from sending critical patients to bigger hospitals with more resources. 

“Take someone who has a stroke or a heart attack and they come to our emergency department usually we could have them out within 30 minutes but now we’re calling 20 to 30 hospitals and there saying they can’t take them there beds are full,” Lee said.  

Dozens of hospitals across the country are postponing procedures and calling on the national guard for help. 

The virus is attacking the health care system and health care workers say they are terrified. 

“I see a different expression on their face then I did last year – there’s a new level of fear that I didn’t see before and I can sense it too,” Ammons said. 

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