Dan Kwik / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hospitals are close to capacity in two states, North and South Dakota, where the Coronavirus has been disproportionately affected due to their small populations and where cases continue to rise daily.
Dakota has the largest number of new daily cases per capita than any other state this week – a record they have held or been close to for several weeks. It is also among the worst in the country for two other grim metrics: Per capita mortality And the Admission of the individual to the hospital.
North Dakota has seen a spike in hospitalizations in recent days, according to Dr. Doug Griffin, chief medical officer at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND, For NPR’s Morning Edition
“We were completely expecting it to get worse,” Griffin said. “I think what struck me was that in just days, it was as if we had turned on a faucet and were pouring in a large number of patients.”
The largely rural state experienced only slight outbreaks in the spring and summer when other parts of the country were hit hard. As of Thursday, the state was seeing an average of 1,334 new cases per day, after seeing no more than 400 cases per day in the summer.
Griffin said, “I think a lot of times people in rural areas feel like,“ Hey, we’re immune to the things that happen in big cities. ”Obviously, that’s not the case with this.
The situation was so dire that North Dakota Gov. Doug Borghum announced this week that healthcare workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms can continue to work in COVID-19 units.
Griffin said the move is an admission of how serious things are in the situation but that they are not planning to implement that option at this time.
“I think if we had no other way in which we felt we could safely provide our patients, I think that would be the case,” Griffin told NPR correspondent David Green. “But we have many options and many levers that we are now pulling … with our current employees.”
In South Dakota, the state will likely follow the North Dakota lead in allowing health care workers with the COVID-19 virus to work if cases continue to rise, Dr Shankar Kura, deputy chief of medical affairs at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital in South Dakota, To NPR’s All Things Consigned
“South Dakota has seen an increase in the number of cases over the past four to five weeks, and we are moving in this exponential curve,” he said. “And what I did put a lot of pressure on our capacity in the hospital.”
“The mathematics of contagion is very clear … we are one case of widespread prevalence. And when you have this kind of community-wide spread with positive rates in the 1920s and 1930s, the possibility is clearly possible that any of your workers will have the disease and thus change,” he said. Able to take care of people. “
He said they planned the influx when they saw cases spike on the east coast in March, and an entire hospital floor was being prepared to treat COVID-19. Now, they have to get creative with hiring.
“If we had an increase in troop numbers like, North Dakota, for example, we could shut down our mobile services and then re-employ those personnel and even non-critical areas like operating rooms that are not traumatic and are not essential emergency procedures,” Cora said. Elsa Chang from NPR.
Cora went on to say he was very worried about what would happen this winter. “With the approach of November, December and January, it is sad to say, but we will witness an increase in cases and an increase in hospitalizations,” he said. “Our biggest concern is maintaining capacity and capacity to care for critically ill people who need the level of intensive care unit care and that will run out quickly if these numbers persist.
Dakota are not the only ones facing overburdened hospitals. Vineet Arora, a hospital physician at the University of Chicago, told NPR All things considered Hospitals in Illinois are “dangerously close” to exceeding capacity and running out of ventilators and other vital equipment, as well as trained doctors. They worry about having to go into “crisis employment planning” mode – or “what’s happening in North Dakota”.
While North Dakota and South Dakota are two of the most at-risk states in the country, cases and hospitalizations across the country are increasing. So far in the United States, there have been more than 10 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 240,000 have died. More than 68,000 are currently hospitalized. On Thursday alone, there were 153,496 new confirmed cases and 919 deaths, The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported.