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HOUSTON – COVID-19 hospitalizations at Texas Medical Center are on track to match those in Houston during previous peaks, such as the second wave in June / July 2020.
TMC President and CEO Bill McKeon said hospitals could even set new records even if about half of eligible Houstonians are vaccinated.
“What was so surprising was that right now we are seeing, not old people entering our hospitals, we are seeing young men and women in their twenties and thirties,” McKeon said. “In fact, the average age when we studied it recently is 20 years younger than before. “
The biggest internal crisis this time around is not a feared shortage of ventilators and PPE, but a major shortage of personnel.
“They have beds,” he said, “The nursing shortage is hitting us really hard. “
McKeon explained the emotional toll 18 months of working in a pandemic took on hospital staff and compared it to a war. They worked on the front lines for so long hoping the vaccines would end the suffering, but when people passed on the vaccine he described it as heartbreaking for many doctors and nurses.
Plus, he said, they can’t compete with some salaries that hard-hit states are starting to offer as incentives to recruit talented nurses.
Worse yet, McKeon believes we haven’t seen the peak yet and predicts we’ll see more than 300 hospital patients per day (mimicking some of the worst times of the pandemic) before it starts to decline again.
“Half the population is vaccinated and that’s good, but this other half is now struggling with a virus that is twice as infectious. [Delta] is almost identical to where we were before when we didn’t have a vaccine, ”McKeon said.
He said one of the worst things about hospital managers is that they steal blind. In the past, people tested more frequently so they could see when there was an increase in positivity. Back then, hospitalizations followed normally, but now they only see it coming when patients fill the waiting room.
p class = “sc-htpNat indexes__TextBase-klv0wy-2 dQOwWF”> Here are the TMC metrics for August 3rd.
key data trends:
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