POST 183. July 29, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. When I was appointed President and CEO of Jersey City Medical Center in1989 in the peak of the HIV/ AIDS crisis, we had a dedicated, and always full, 60 bed AIDS unit, staffed by one full time nurse and numerous part-time and per diem nurses. Today, right now, hospitals caught in the Covid-19 surge, are forced to redeploy nursing staff, respiratory therapists and other clinicians, most without prior infectious diseases experience. Why are we tolerating the unvaccinated putting our hospital staffs at risk?
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Over my career I’ve seen my share of Rapid Response challenges –
While the Mount Sinai administrator at Elmhurst Hospital. On December 29, 1975, a bomb detonated near the TWA baggage reclaim terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The blast killed 11 people and seriously injured 74. The perpetrators were never identified. Elmurst Hospital was the epicenter of the response.
At JCMC. The 1993 first World Trade Center bombing was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, when a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the complex. JCMC EMS “flew” across the Hudson River to participate in the response.
At JCMC. On September 11th JCMC, under the radar, took care of more casualties than all but two NYC hospitals, as ferries brought thousands of refugees across the Hudson River to Jersey City.
And then there was the four alarm arson fire in the “old” hospital, where 300 inpatients were at risk with the JCFD getting it under control as we were evacuating the ICUs before trying to evacuate the inpatient floors.
Fast forward to today!
“Florida added more than 16,000 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the single largest day increase in the pandemic since Jan. 15.” (A)
“Officials with Central Florida’s largest hospital system said there are about 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday morning.
AdventHealth officials provided the update as Florida sees an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Dr. Vincent Hsu, the executive director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiologist, said the current wave the hospital system is seeing has passed numbers seen in January during peak hospitalizations.
“What’s extraordinary is the speed at which we are currently seeing new cases and unfortunately right now, the slope is pretty steep and we haven’t seen the end of it, this is still coming,” he said.
In response to whether there are any signs of a deceleration in the number of cases, Hsu said there isn’t as of now and they are continuing to see a “very significant surge.” He said among the number of hospitalized patients, about 93-95% are unvaccinated patients.
“We have to recognize that the delta variant behaves in ways that … were unlike the other variants and so this is a significant issue that we’re going to have to deal with,” Hsu said.” (B)
“During their daily morning call, University of Kansas Health System doctors were asked about any preparations for a hospital influx.
“We have more than 100 ICU beds… and most of our eyes see that they’re occupied because our overall census is so high,” Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical officer, said.
He said the issue is that once people are stabilized, they can be moved out of the ICU and onto other floors, but there isn’t a lot of room on other floors available for those COVID-19 patients.
Until there is more room in the ICU, they can’t put more people in the ICU. Right now, that health system is operating two COVID-19 ICUs.
“So where we are today, we can manage. The question is the following,” Stites said. He said current numbers could be where we crest and then numbers decline, or it could just be a plateau and numbers could climb.” (C)
For sure, where the trajectory is steep hospitals are redeploying staff! To care mostly for unvaccinated patients.
So it’s time for mandatory vaccinations! Let’s not wait until local health care systems implode.
“President Joe Biden will announce on Thursday a requirement that all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated against Covid-19, or be required to submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
The announcement will come in remarks where Biden is also expected to lay out a series of new steps, including incentives, in an attempt to spur new vaccinations as the Delta variant spreads rapidly throughout the country. It will also follow the decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to require its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated over the course of the next two months…
While the specifics are still being finalized, the source said, federal workers would be required to attest to their vaccination status or submit to regular testing. The source said the proposal will be roughly similar to what is being implemented in New York City. Additional requirements for the unvaccinated could be added as agencies push to vaccinate their employees.
Biden will not impose the requirement on the US military, despite his authority to do so, for the time being. He is, however, likely to outline how the Department of Defense may seek to approach the issue going forward, the source said.” (D)
“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that state workers must be vaccinated or subject to weekly Covid-19 testing beginning next month. In addition, he said that all patient-facing health care workers in New York’s state-run hospitals must get vaccinated against Covid-19…
“It’s smart. It’s fair, it’s in everyone’s interest,” he said. But we have to go further: New York led the nation in going down the path that made the most sense, even though it is hard. … I think we need dramatic action to get control of this situation.”
Additional context: The governor announced that “there will be no testing option” for patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals, including facilities run by the State University of New York. The announcement, which Cuomo cast as a “first major step” toward other mandates, comes amid a rise in Covid-19 cases linked to the Delta variant.
“We’re saying, in state hospitals where the state is the employer, the frontline workers must be vaccinated, period,” he said in remarks delivered virtually at a meeting of the Association for a Better New York.” (E)
“Google and Facebook will require U.S. employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to the company’s offices, the tech giants said on Wednesday.
In a blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the vaccine mandate would apply to its U.S. offices in the coming weeks and would be required eventually for other locations.
“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai wrote.
Shortly after Google’s announcement, Facebook said it too will require anyone coming to work at its U.S. offices to be vaccinated.
“How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations. We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves,” Lori Goler, Facebook’s vice president of people, wrote in a statement.” (F)
- A.COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations continue to rise in Florida’s summer surge, by Justin Schecker, https://www.wfla.com/community/health/coronavirus/covid-19-cases-hospitalizations-continue-to-rise-in-floridas-summer-surge/
- B.AdventHealth sees highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at about 1,000, by Gabriella Nuñez and Brenda Argueta, https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2021/07/28/adventhealth-to-provide-covid-19-update-as-infections-rise-in-central-florida/
- C.Is Kansas City the next Springfield? Hospitals address concern over COVID-19 surge, By Katelyn Brown, https://www.kshb.com/news/coronavirus/is-kansas-city-the-next-springfield-hospitals-address-concern-over-covid-19-surge
- D.Biden will announce vaccination requirement across federal government on Thursday, By Phil Mattingly and Jason Hoffman, https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/27/politics/vaccine-mandate-for-federal-employees-under-consideration/index.html
- E.New York to mandate vaccines or weekly testing for state workers, Cuomo says, By SHANNON YOUNG, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/07/28/new-york-to-mandate-vaccines-or-weekly-testing-for-state-workers-cuomo-says-1389138
- F.Google And Facebook Mandate Vaccines For Employees At U.S. Offices, by Bobby Allyn, https://www.npr.org/2021/07/28/1021798222/google-mandates-vaccines-for-workers-pushes-back-return-to-office-date
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