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SIH seeing major uptick in COVID-19 patients being admitted to the Hospital

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Health experts in southern Illinois report that most counties are at or below a 40 percent vaccination rate.

Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) hospitals tell us they are also nearing capacity.

“There’s not a single patient in the ICU right now that expected to be there, none of them thought this would affect them, and here they are with a life-threatening illness” said Memorial Hospital of Carbondale ICU Manager April Miller.

Miller stated by the time ICU patients reach them, it’s too late to get vaccinated.

“We are seeing a high numbers of unvaccinated people, we don’t really in the ICU, by the time they get to us we really don’t get to have a lot of conversations with them,” explains Miller.

According to a spokesperson from SIH: since May 1, 85 percent of COVID-19 in patient admissions have been unvaccinated.

In addition to the 18 COVID-19 related deaths, only two were vaccinated and they had underlying health conditions.

“So, while the COVID-19 vaccines are not 100 percent effective, these vaccines are highly effective in reducing sever illness, hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19,” said SIH Family Medicine Physician Dr. Marci Moore-Connelly.

Moore-Connelly says COVID-19 cases are trending in the the wrong direction and filling up hospital beds.

“If we don’t take increased precautions immediately our hospitals will soon run out of space and we are dangerously close to capacity now,” says Moore-Connelly.

Miller says as those beds continue to fill up, the ICU team has a surge plan in place.

She tells me nurses are working extra to help protect the community.

“People working a lot of extra shifts, pitching in where they can. Non-ICU nurses are coming back to the bedside to help us out, managers are working night shifts and weekends. It’s really a struggle but we’re doing the best we can to manage this crisis that we’re in right now,” says Miller.

Miller says their resources are limited and being stretched. She has this message for everyone in the community.

“Do what you can to protect yourself from the virus, protect your family from the virus which means getting the vaccine, talking to your healthcare provider about the vaccine and of course wearing a mask,” Miller explained.

Miller also talks about the nurses case load as they experience more patients.

“We went through a horrible struggle last fall, winter and into the spring and we thought we were on the other side of it, the vaccine was out, everyone was going to get vaccinated,” said Miller. “We didn’t have to go through this again. We barely emotionally recovered from it and now we’re right back where we were again.”

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