A TOTAL of 40 hospitals across New York state will need to stop non-essential, non-urgent elective procedures for at least two weeks, the state’s Department of Health has warned.
The reason is due to limited staffer patient bed capacity, according to the announcement.
“We will use every available tool to help ensure that hospitals can manage the Covid-19 winter surge," said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "I want to remind New Yorkers that getting vaccinated and boosted remain the best way to protect against serious illness and hospitalization from Covid-19. Vaccination also protects our hospital system. We cannot return to the early months of the pandemic when hospitals were overwhelmed."
Some of the hospitals on the list are:
- Olean General Hospital, Olean
- Brooks-TLC Hospital, Dunkirk
- Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, Springville
- Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo
- Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Buffalo
- Sisters of Charity Hospital, Buffalo
- United Memorial Medical Center, Batavia
- Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center, Lewiston
- Medina Memorial hospital, Medina
- Wyoming County Community Hospital, Warsaw
Earlier this week it was announced pediatric hospitalizations for Covid-19 increased eight-fold in New York state from early December to late month, with the vast majority of those kids unvaccinated with the situation worsening in early January.
In the week ending January 1, there were 571 pediatric Covid hospitalizations statewide, the New York State Department of Health said, up from 70 just weeks previously.
Of those admitted, 91 per cent of kids ages 5-11 were unvaccinated, as well as 65 per cent of kids ages 12 to 17.
In New York City alone, Covid hospitalizations in those 18 and under increased 17-fold, more than double the growth rate for the population as a whole, according to the report.
Vaccine effectiveness & Omicron
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.
In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.
Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.
Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The rest of the US is also struggling to cope as Omicron-fuelled Covid cases explode across the country and is causing a breakdown in basic functions and services.
In Kansas’ Johnson County, paramedics are working 80 hours a week. Ambulances have frequently been forced to alter their course when the hospitals they’re heading to tell them they’re too overwhelmed to help, confusing the patients’ already anxious family members driving behind them. When the ambulances arrive at hospitals, some of their emergency patients end up in waiting rooms because there are no beds.
Dr Steve Stites, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Hospital, said when the leader of a rural hospital had no place to send its dialysis patients this week, the hospital’s staff consulted a textbook and “tried to put in some catheters and figure out how to do it.”
Medical facilities have been hit by a “double whammy,” he said. The number of Covid-19 patients at the University of Kansas Hospital rose from 40 on December 1 to 139 on Friday.
At the same time, more than 900 employees have been sickened with Covid-19 or are awaiting test results — 7 per cent of the hospital’s 13,500-person workforce.
In Los Angeles, more than 800 police and fire personnel were sidelined because of the virus as of Thursday, causing slightly longer ambulance and fire response times.
Meanwhile, schools from coast to coast tried to maintain in-person instruction despite massive teacher absences.
In Chicago, a tense standoff between the school district and teachers union over remote learning and Covid-19 safety protocols led to classes being canceled over the past three days.
In San Francisco, nearly 900 educators and aides called in sick Thursday.
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