DFW hospitals see COVID-19 cases drop, but more patients stay longer in intensive care – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
As the number of COVID-19 cases declines, doctors at Parkland Hospital are seeing more and more people no longer infected but still too sick to return home.
“We have almost as many patients recovering from COVID in hospital as we have patients here with infectious active COVID,” Parkland Chief Medical Officer Dr Joseph Chang said.
Chang says the hospital peaked at around 175 active COVID-19 patients three weeks ago and that on Tuesday they had around 95. They are delighted with the progress but fear the number of intensive care units may not decrease with the number. of cases.
Chang says that when a person is admitted with COVID-19, an average stay is around a week. When admitted to the ICU, they usually stay for about a month. These days, he’s seeing more people in extended intensive care stays for two to three months.
He says this is in part due to the delta variant, which is more contagious and more likely to make people sicker.
“I mean, these are people who are 30 and 40 year olds who can no longer brush their teeth, because of the ravages of COVID or who are now undergoing respiratory treatments every day, require constant levels of oxygen and may need it for the rest of their lives, ”Chang said.
Higher rates of intensive care patients are driving demand for specialist personnel.
“I could talk to any hospital, whether in metro or rural areas, we have 90 member hospitals, I guarantee the number one priority is staff,” said Stephen Love, CEO of Dallas -Fort Worth Hospital Council.
Experts say workers are tired and the state is bringing in additional staff from other states, but this is not sustainable.
“Even though COVID-19 decreases until the hospital census, our overall occupancy rate remains the same. So it’s not just a short-term problem, it’s a long-term problem over the next year to five years, we need to look at health care, ”Love said.
In the short term, experts say they need more people to get vaccinated or wear masks to reduce the number of patients requiring intensive care.
“A lot of these people that we are, we are coming now, the regret they have that they did not use the vaccine and prevented a lot of that, that regret is something that makes all of our caregivers cry,” Chang said. .