St. Louis hospitals are in a crunch as COVID-19 cases reach record highs

Missouri

ST. LOUIS — The omicron variant has fueled the worst week in St. Louis COVID history, and doctors are asking for more patience from patients.

On Friday, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported its highest number of hospitalizations during the pandemic — 1,432 patients. The region has seen a staggering 1,302 new hospital admissions and 115 deaths since Sunday.

What is not translated into numbers is the emotional toll on patients and hospital staff. Dr. Farrin Manian, the chairman of the Department of Medicine at Mercy St. Louis, said there is a lot of anger and confrontation from patients wanting quicker care.

Many hospitals are short-staffed because of the overwhelming number of COVID patients. Manian is asking patients to understand that the hospital staff is there to support them and their families.

“To get very disrespectful impatient when things are not done the way you like them to,” said Manian. “It’s not necessarily going to help with the care of the patients because we still need the staff to do what they need to do. Sometimes, there may be disruptive behavior that could compound the problem.”

Manian said Mercy St. Louis is trying to find creative ways to address its staff shortage and may look outside the Mercy health system for workers.

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