‘It’s exhausting’: St. Louis hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients

Missouri

ST. LOUIS — A record number of patients with COVID-19 have been admitted to St. Louis area hospitals, again.

St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reports 227 patients were admitted in the last 24 hours. This number broke the previous record of 213, which was set just two days prior.

“It’s exhausting. It’s quite depressing,” said Dr. Mano Patri, an infectious disease specialist with SSM Health. “I’m pretty sure I can speak for the entire country that we’re sick of this.”

This is the third day in a row more than 200 patients have been admitted with COVID. The latest data also shows a record number of children have been admitted for the virus as well. As records shatter, hospitals and healthcare systems say they are overwhelmed. 

“ER’s are being inundated, we don’t have enough beds, we’ve had to make different parts of the hospital areas for beds for patients,” Dr. Patri said. “There’s been just a level of exhaustion. Our nurses and doctors are working overtime. A lot of staff have gotten sick.”

Dr. Steven Brown with Mercy St. Louis has painted a grim picture of what it’s like for healthcare workers inside hospitals amid the surge.  

#COVID19 is RAGING. #Omicron is “mild” for the vaxxed, but not for the dozens of unvaxxed patients whom I am caring for tonight in ICUs in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma,” Brown tweeted. “If they are conscious, most are struggling to breathe. The rest are life support in drug-induced comas.”

“This is a big deal virus, so my ask would be, you know, take a step back,” Dr. Patri said “It’s not about government overrule. It’s not about politics. This is about trying to take care of yourself and your fellow man.”

Dr. Patri and Dr. Farrin Manian, the chairman of the department of medicine at Mercy St. Louis said the positivity rate is sitting around 30 percent, which is the highest since the pandemic started.

However, they expect the number to climb higher before dropping again. The doctors also said they believe the positivity rate is actually much higher because it likely doesn’t include those who test at home. 

“These highly transmissible infections, they do peak and they do go down, we just need to make sure that we can survive as far as our healthcare system when the surge does go down,” Dr. Manian said. “Most of us are hoping that we can get the numbers down to manageable levels, where our healthcare system is not so strained, and I think that’s what makes this current time so critical.”

“It’s not just about COVID, it’s about all the other patients who need care, and don’t have COVID that can also be affected because of the strain on the system currently.”

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