As holidays loom, hospitals 'can’t keep up this tempo'

As holidays loom, hospitals 'can’t keep up this tempo'

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dr. Alex Garza is warning that doctors and nurses are becoming exhausted as the virus surges and that the tempo gives them “little room to maneuver.”

Garza, who leads the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force encompassing 22 hospitals, said an average of more than 100 COVID-19 patients had been admitted every day to those hospitals for over a month. He said they were filling 20 percent of general hospital beds and 30 percent of ICU beds.

The hospitals’ intensive care and medical units are about 85 percent full on average. More than 20 COVID-19 patients are dying every day.

“You just can’t maintain this sort of operations tempo at this rate, because it gives us very little room to maneuver. Even the slightest uptick in admissions above what we are seeing as normal now can really tip us into crisis management,” he said. “Beyond that, we can’t keep up this tempo because we are burning our staff out.”

Crisis management means doctors have to make difficult decisions on who gets the best care and who doesn’t.

“Make no mistake,” Garza said, “we continue to be in the most serious and deadly part of the pandemic.”

He added, “With this much virus circulating, you really have to assume that you could have the virus and could spread it to others.” He pointed out that many people who are infected have either mild or no symptoms – but still “could land one of your loved ones in the hospital.”

And that’s not a place anyone wants to be, especially now.

MetroSTL.com staff contributed to this report.

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