‘All the beds are taken up by Covid victims’: Hospitals in the South are running out of space or staff

[cnn.com – 2021.08.08] Covid-19 hospitalizations are reaching all-time highs in parts of the South, with some patients unable to get the care they would normally receive.

Susan Walker has been calling out-of-state hospitals trying to get help for her husband, who did not get vaccinated against Covid-19 and is now in a medically induced coma.

“He is on a ventilator and in dire need of an ECMO treatment, which is not available at the hospital that he is in,” the Florida mother said Sunday.

“All the beds are taken up by Covid victims also getting ECMO.”

An ECMO treatment uses external machinery that can function as the heart and lungs. It’s been used with some severely ill Covid-19 patients, including young adults.

Across the country, states are struggling to fend off the Delta variant — the most contagious strain of coronavirus yet.

But the situation in particularly worrisome in several Southern states.

Louisiana set a new record for Covid-19 hospitalizations last week.

Florida’s hospitalizations recently jumped 13% above the state’s previous peak on July 23, 2020, according to a survey by the Florida Hospital Association.

The FHA said it expects 60% of the state’s hospitals to face a “critical staffing shortage” by this week.

And at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, “We have no beds. The emergency department is full of patients just waiting to be able to get into the hospital,” Chief of Staff Dr. Joseph Varon said Sunday morning.

“Over the last 12 hours, we have lost more patients than … in the last five to six weeks.”

According to data published Sunday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50.1% of the total US population is now fully vaccinated — more than 166 million people.

As of Sunday, Mississippi has fully vaccinated 35.2% of its residents. That makes Alabama — with 34.8% of its residents fully vaccinated — the only state in the US to have fully vaccinated less than 35% of its residents.

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