That system is usually assigned to emergency codes.
But Makadia, an epidemiologist at the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center, had other plans for May 25.
“After 13, 14 months of terrible news, we were aiming for some good news,” Makadia said. “At that moment … we had zero (patients), which is an incredible feeling.”
On the other side of the country, inside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, similar celebrations took place at the end of May, after hospital staff announced they had no Govt-19 patients – for the first time since March 2020.
“This is an incredible hope for us,” said Dr. Susan Earlich, the hospital’s CEO. “It’s been a very tiring year and a half, very stressful.”
Both facilities claim to have seen many Govt-19 patients – but the numbers are very low, not comparable to the severe peaks they experienced in the winter.
This worries Magadia as well.
“It’s so beautiful, we see light at the end of this long, long tunnel, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said.
Some hospitals still see a rise in patients
Late last month, the University of Kansas health organization registered several days with one or two Govt-19 patients. According to Chief Medical Officer Dr Steven Stites, this was a cry when staff treated more than 200 Govt-19 patients since early December.
“We had Govt-19 patients everywhere,” he said. “These are the worst, darkest days of the epidemic for us.”
Now, Stites says, those hospitalized because of the virus have not been vaccinated.
“If you have Govt disease here, you have not been vaccinated,” he said. “We’ve got a person who’s been vaccinated so I can remember the top of my head.”
This is a pattern specific to other hospitals. In Alabama, 95% of patients have been hospitalized due to Govt-19 since vaccinations began.
“This is really a compelling point where vaccines work,” Makadia said.
In Central Oregon, Dr. Jeff Absalon, chief medical administrator of St. Charles Health Systems, said they were still “in the midst of an uprising of Govt patients.” About 98% of Kovit-19 patients admitted to the hospital since March have not been diagnosed.
“We recently spent a few weeks near our highest point,” he said. “We’re still in the thick of the epidemic.”
Absalom did not know why the numbers were so high.
Local leaders continue to make vaccination efforts, but Afzalon suspects that the recent upsurge, due to warming weather and frequent tourist arrivals to the area, may have contributed to the increase in community outreach.
He says he is currently testing Covid-19 patients for variants of the virus.
“Our vaccination rates in our district are very good, but after all, we are clearly not at a herd immunity level,” he said.
Younger Americans were hospitalized
Dr. Jeffrey Chapman, Chief Medical Officer of the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in the southeastern part of the state, He says he and staff are concerned about the recent rise in Govt-19 patients.
“When the numbers double and triple in a week, we’re scared,” he said.
As the number of vaccines lags behind the younger generation, the hospital’s Govt-19 patient statistics have become younger.
“Two-thirds of the people we have in the intensive care unit are … 50-60 people, in the past it was almost in the 70s and 80s,” Chapman said. “We’ve actually seen a small number of pediatric patients that we haven’t seen in a while.”
“So, I think one can present this because young people are being vaccinated at a lower frequency … we need to admit more people to the hospital at a younger age,” Chapman said. “Can I say association? Yes. Can I say reason? I do not have complete data to support it, but I do not think it is fair to say so.”
“Given the number of adolescents admitted to the hospital, treatment in the intensive care unit required mechanical ventilation,” Valensky said, “forcing us to double our motivation to vaccinate our adolescents and young adults.”
As hospitals continue to treat Covid-19 patients, one of the biggest challenges they face is being solved by emotional staff.
In Kansas, Stites said there is a basic fatigue and mental and physical exhaustion.
“There has been a lot of pain and suffering among health workers,” he said, adding that they often saw a Govt-19 patient alive and had to deliver bad news to families. “I think there is a scar. There is a deep wound in your psyche about what this disease really means.”
This, he said, was somewhat of a “post-coital depression”.
“This creates a personal figure for individuals who are committed to helping others,” said Apsalon, of Oregon. “One of the hardest things right now is that they care about those who choose not to be vaccinated. And it’s very heartbreaking to see a lot of the things we see in epidemics this time around that can prevent hospitalization.”
In Wyoming, Chapman visits Hospital Covid-19 patients every morning and every night to make sure they are ready for another uprising.
“I do not want to see people get sick, I do not want people to die, so that is part of my concern. What can I do to prevent this?” he said. “I personally believe the vaccine is the answer to that.”