The Hill: Illinois hospital bed openings hit pandemic low: report

Now is the time to upgrade your mask. Ideally n95 or kn95 or kn94 or if yoy can’t get those, surgical.
#Omicron is extremely contagious.
I may sound like a broken record but please trust me when I say we are in a very different situation than we were in even a few weeks ago.
I am watching the physician messaging boards blow up with everyone saying the same thing. Covid19 Isn’t just back, its back with a vengeance. And unfortunately we haven’t see messaging coming out nationally that is strong enough to truly describe what is going on. So let me break it down
1. Healthcare systems are at the breaking point. Systems and hospitals are short staffed. This is because unlike 2020, HCW have been leaving medicine in droves this last year and a half. And for those who are left, some are getting sick. So hospitals are short staffed. Meaning there are not people in the hospitals to take care of the sick. And when physicians are trying to get patients transferred to other hospitals, there are no beds to go to. ER waits are in the 10+ hour range many places and I
Am hearing more and more stories of people with non-COVID medical problems (like heart attacks) not being able to receive emergency care.
2. We have patients with #COVID19 coming in in higher numbers than we have seen in a while. And unlike 2020, we have a lot of ppl sick with OTHER illnesses coming in. So hospitals are overwhelmed w both covid and non-covid patients. In 2020 many of those people didn’t come in and delayed their care. So they are coming in now, oftentimes sicker than they would have been in 2020 bc care has been delayed.
3. Even those who were totally on board with all the risk mitigation strategies implemented at the beginning of this pandemic are “over covid.” People are socializing, not wearing masks, living life in the “new normal.” Unfortunately that new normal needs to be yet again modified as #omicron and #delta are spreading fast.
4. Unlike 2 years ago, HCW aren’t being cheered. They are being coughed and spit on in the ER, yelled at in the clinics, and attacked for asking about Vaccine status, or sharing that their are no more monoclonal antibody treatments available, or there are simply, no “rooms at the inn.”
5. Similar to 2020, supply chain is an issue. Testing kits are in short supply. And now even treatments like monoclonal antibodies are running out at many places.
6. Similar to March 2020, HCW are sounding the alarm, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is listening. Or maybe people are listening but just ignoring the messages now, because it’s been a long 2+ years.
I went out today and the number of people indoors not wearing masks properly felt higher than I had seen in a while. And the irritation wirh being asked to wear a mask properly, was palpable. Restaurants are full, and masks often feel like an afterthought. Holiday parties are happening, and days later we hear stories of how many people contracted #COVID19 at the event.
I don’t post this to be a “Debby Downer.” There are ways to gather safely. We have vaccines. We have tools to stem the tide. We truly know what works to allow ppl to enjoy the holidays with loved ones. Unlike 2020 we know so much more about COVID19. And our vaccines still work to prevent hospitalizations and death. We know how to protect ourselves and others but for these things to work, we need to actually be doing them.
🧪 Cancel large gathering or make them virtual. Keep gatherings small.
🧪 Require negative test the day of the event and make sure everyone is vaccinated AND boosted in the small groups you are socializing with
😷 #WearAMask when indoors and with people outside of your household.
😷 Upgrade your cloth mask ASAP.
💉 #GetBoosted with an mRNA vaccine ASAP
💨 If gathering make sure ventilation is optimized. Crack a window. Get a Hepa filter.
🧍🏽‍♀️Distance when out and about doing your holiday shopping. Don’t crowd the people in front of you.
A lot of people who used to ask me for advice have stopped lately and I have a good idea why. Over the summer when numbers were better and we seemingly had a handle on things, I felt comfortable advising ppl to live in this new normal and socialize with vaccinated ppl, gather (outdoors always better than indoors but when transmission rates were low indoors also seems like a relatively safe option with masks on indoors). Now, things have changed. And no one wants to hear that we need to take a few steps backwards and do the hard things again. But trust me when I say, healthcare systems across the country are at the brink. And the impact this pandemic has had, and continues to have) on our HCW is going to result in something having to give. And if you look at the bed capacity numbers, you will start to get an idea.
If you have listened to anything I have said in the last two years, I hope you trust me now when I say, you need to step up your game. Up your risk mitigation strategies. Make large gatherings virtual. Up your mask game. Get yourself boosted. Convince your friends and family to do the same. Because healthcare workers are sounding the alarm. And we need everyone to step up to help us help you and your loved ones.

You can read the article here

About Shikha Jain, MD FACP

I am a practicing, board-certified hematology/oncology physician in Chicago. I speak on topics ranging from the impact of social media on healthcare, how physicians can utilize social media, how to write Op-eds in the medical world, gender equity and barriers to career advancement, and topics in GI oncology and immunotherapy. My goal is to explain complicated topics in simple terms. I also enjoy writing and you can find some of my writing on this site. I am a mother to three amazing kids and married to a gastroenterologist. I look forward to connecting with you.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: