Erlanger, Other Local Hospitals, Facing "Crisis Of The Unvaccinated"

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Erlanger Health System infectious disease specialist Dr. Jay Sizemore said Thursday that Erlanger and other local hospitals are facing "a crisis of the unvaccinated."

Dr. Sizemore told the Erlanger trustees that over 90 percent of patients at Erlanger with COVID have not been vaccinated.

He said COVID case numbers are going even higher than the previous surge tip in January. 

Dr. William Jackson, Erlanger CEO, said the new pandemic surge "is bringing significant operational pressures" at the hospital.

Officials said nurses and many other hospital personnel have had to be shifted to take care of the growing number of COVID patients.

Dr. Chris Young, medical chief of staff, said Erlanger has been seeing "exponential growth" of COVID patients in the last 4-5 weeks after earlier getting down to only a single COVID patient at the hospital.

He said the peak may be 3-4 weeks away.

Dr. Young said, "It is frustrating that many COVID patients are in the hospital simply because they weren't vaccinated."

He said he was also frustrated by "public officials politicizing" the current health crisis. He said their stress should be on "urging citizens on what to do to keep themselves healthy."

Of the hospital employees who deal on a daily basis with many tragic COVID cases, he said, "It is inspiring to see these young providers going to work every day and with the energy to deal with this day to day crisis."

Dr. Charles Woods said more children are sick with COVID than before, but he said, "Thankfully, they are not necessarily getting sicker." He said, "Some are very ill, but not proportionately more so than before."

However, he said a number of adolescents have come down with the virus.

Meanwhile, Erlanger announced that it is implementing a "Code Triage-COVID-19 Surge" to try to deal with the crush of patients.

It will include a team of 6-8 health experts at Erlanger who will set up a command center to deal with the new surge. Included will be a core team of administrators, physicians, emergency management personnel, nurses and therapists.


 


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