(NewsNation Now) — As states across the country experience a steep increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitals are witnessing an unprecedented influx of patients. Some systems are at their breaking point with many having to send patients elsewhere, while others are on the edge of not having enough staff to meet the growing demand.
“Our staff is strained at many of our hospitals now,” said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council. “They’re bending, they’re elastic, they’re making the changes necessary.”
So is the story of health care workers from coast to coast — adjusting to the record number of people they have in hospital care.
“So many of us on the inside, we are tired. It’s been a lot of long hours,” said Dr. Christian Sandrock, a front line worker treating COVID-19 patients at UC Davis in California. California was the second state after Texas to surpass one million COVID-19 infections.
“You know, some of our patients are learning to breathe, walk again, regain strength, they have to regain a lot of their facilities,” said Sandrock.
In Illinois, hospitals are reaching what’s deemed threshold levels. With 5,200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide, rooms are filling up at an alarming rate.
“We have more physical rooms than we have nurses and pharmacists and respiratory therapists and techs and doctors,” said one doctor.
The state’s top public health officials and governor are now pleading with residents to follow mitigation measures heading into the holidays.
“If we wait to take action until our hospitals are full, it will be too late,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL). “And countless patients will die unnecessary deaths because there aren’t enough beds or people to staff them.”
Auxiliary hospitals are popping up in most American cities to provide care to the overflow of infection.
And in Colorado, health authorities say they are facing the kind of numbers seen by New York in the beginning of the pandemic. State hospitals bursting at the seams with 84 percent of total available ICU bed space having been in use the past week.
Medical authorities also warned that just because the country is seeing an uptick in cases, does not mean an increase in staff.
“If you have a hurricane, you can bring people from all over the country to help,” said Love. “But everyone throughout the country is dealing with COVID-19. So good workforce is hard to find, the traveling nurses are hard to find. So we’ve just got to work through this, but it is a real concern.”
According to the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, about 76,000 COVID-19 inpatient beds are filled with COVID-19 patients across the country. That does not include the tens of thousands who are in ICU beds this week.