Covid-19 patients at this hospital are dying ‘at a rate we’ve never seen die before’ – and it’s wreaking havoc among healthcare workers
âI was really hoping that we (all) got vaccinated and things got back to normal,â said Sefton, assistant director of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan.
“We have more patients than we have ever had at any time, and we are seeing more people dying at a rate than we have ever seen die before,” said Jim Dover, President and CEO from Sparrow Health System.
âSince January, we have had around 289 deaths; 75% are unvaccinated people, âDover said. “And the very few (vaccinated people) who died were all over 6 months away from their injection. So we haven’t had a single person who received a booster shot of Covid.”
Among the new victims of Covid-19, Sefton said he noticed a disturbing trend.
âWe see a lot of young people. And I think it’s a bit difficult,â said Sefton, a 20-year veteran nurse.
She remembers helping the family of a young adult say goodbye to their loved one.
âIt was a horrible night,â she said. “It was one of the days I came home and just cried.”
“We haven’t reached the top yet”
It’s not just Michigan that faces a tough winter with Covid-19. Nationally, hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are up 40% from a month ago, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
âWe keep talking about the fact that we haven’t peaked yet,â Sefton said.
Sparrow Hospital nurse Danielle Williams said the vast majority of her Covid-19 patients were unvaccinated – and had no idea they could be pummeled so hard by Covid-19.
âBefore they walked in the door, they were leading normal lives. They were healthy people. They were out to celebrate Thanksgiving,â Williams said. “And now they’re here, with a mask on their face, with tears in their eyes, staring at me, wondering if they’re going to live or not.”
“The next few weeks are going to be difficult”
Dover said he was saddened but not surprised his condition was plagued by Covid-19.
“Michigan is not one of the states with the highest vaccination levels in the country. So it continues to have variant after variant that thrives and thrives throughout the state,” he said. declared.
âThe next few weeks are shaping up to be tough. We currently have over 100% capacity,â Dover said.
âMost of Michigan’s state hospitals and healthcare systems have switched to code red triage, which means they won’t be accepting transfers. And as the holidays approach, so the rate of growth current where we are today, we expect to see 200 Covid patients hospitalized by the end of the month – on a daily basis. ”
And that would mean “absolutely stretching us to the breaking point,” Dover said.
“We have already stopped elective surgeries in hospitals,” he said. “In order to build capacity, we took our post-anesthesia recovery care unit and converted it to another intensive care unit.”
“There is a lot of frustration”
Nurse Leah Rasch is exhausted. She has worked with Covid-19 patients since the start of the pandemic and was stunned to see so many still unvaccinated people entering the Covid unit.
“I didn’t think we would be here. I really thought people would be vaccinated,” said the nurse at Sparrow Hospital.
“I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have a full Covid floor.”
The relentless onslaught of Covid-19 patients has impacted Rasch’s own health.
âThere is a lot of frustration,â she said. “The other day I had my first panic attack … I drove to work and couldn’t get out of the car.”
“We need everyone to get vaccinated”
Dover said many people have asked how they can support healthcare workers.
âIf you really want to support your staff and you really want to support health heroes, get vaccinated,â he said. “It’s not political. We need everyone to get vaccinated.”
âMy daughter is a good example. She had Covid twice before being eligible for a vaccine,â Dover said.
“She still received a vaccine because we know that if you don’t get the vaccine, just having contracted Covid is not enough to prevent you from getting it again. And I know that from personal experience. . ”
And those who aren’t vaccinated shouldn’t underestimate the pandemic just yet, Dover said.
“The problem is, it’s not over yet. I don’t know if people realize how critical it is still,” he said.
“But they realize it when they get to the ER, and they have to wait three days for a bed. And then they realize it.”
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.