North Memorial ER Doctor: ‘We Run the Risk of Having to Live This Over and Over Again.’
The delta variant is creating a hectic situation at emergency rooms across the metro. Officials at North Memorial Health and Maple Grove hospital say they are seeing a significant rise in patients. Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported more than 1,100 new cases and 4 deaths. See the latest information here.
Health experts at North Memorial Health Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital say it’s like a never-ending revolving door.
“We’ve seen a significant in the number of COVID cases coming into the ER. This is up over approximately the last month or so,” said Dr. Jeff Vespa, who works in North Memorial Health Hospital ER.
Vespa says the increase is likely due to the highly contagious delta variant. State health officials believe this strain is responsible for at least 85 percent of COVID cases, based on genomic sequencing of positive COVID cases. Vespa also says North Memorial Health is seeing a small number of breakthrough cases.
“The breakthrough cases that we are seeing tend to be in people that are older, or maybe under some sort of immune suppressant therapy like chemotherapy,” Vespa said.
The increase in COVID-19 patients is not only creating a backlog in the emergency room, but the availability of hospital beds is also slim.
“Hospital beds are really, really tight right now, and what that means for people that have to be admitted is either we have to transport you to a different hospital, or sometimes you’re in the ER for hours and hours,” said Vespa.
COVID-19 Situation ‘Draining and Sometimes Depressing’
For the front-line workers who have been caring for COVID-19 patients for more than a year, this situation is “draining and sometimes depressing.” Dr. Vespa explained the ongoing fatigue.
“Just having to put on all the personal equipment between patients and just the high volume of people that we’re seeing,” explained Vespa. “There’s just no time for a break. It’s just an intense time to work.”
Dr. Vespa encourages anyone who can get vaccinated to do so for the good of the public and the health care workers.
“If we don’t get people vaccinated, these surges will come and go. It won’t ever go away. We run the risk of having to live this over and over again.”