With the exponential spread of the local virus, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital is reporting record high exposure to COVID, which tends to be younger and sometimes more anger at the onset of the disease. The outbreak, health officials said on Friday.
Foundation Health Partners leaders provide this Covid-19 update highlighting the record high admission rates at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and describing the dynamics in patient populations.
On average, there were 10 and 11 new COVID-19 cases per day in the past week. The hospital had 12 COVID-19 cases on Friday and two others suspected of having the virus. Said Angelique Ramirez, Chief Medical Officer at FHP.
“Right now we are really struggling. We have a record number of hospitalizations, ”said Shelley Abinal, FHP CEO and director of quality medicine.
Overall, 18% of all intra-hospital patients were COVID cases, compared with 5% nationwide, according to the state’s Covid-19 Hospital Information Dashboard.There were 56 beds with 51 guests. Out of the 13-bed ICU, there are a total of eight beds.
Covid patients tend to be younger.
In addition to accepting more patients, the hospital saw younger patients at the start of the epidemic, Ramirez said.
For example, on a day of the week, eight of the 12 COVID patients under 65, including the 25-year-old, had to sleep in the ICU, the rest in the general class, with one in their 40s. Three in their 50s and three in their early 60s, according to Ramirez.
Younger hospitalizations have also led to the transmission of the virus in younger children, including infants under the age of one and infants in the first months of life, pediatrician Laura Brunner. say
“This is no longer a grandparent who has to be hospitalized. This is the parents, ”she said, explaining that since the children were with their parents, they were also exposed to the virus.
COVID patients stay longer in hospital
Because patients are younger, they are more likely to recover from the virus – after a few weeks in the hospital. Barb Creighton said.
“We’re seeing them live longer because they don’t die,” Creighton said. She said she was happy to see patients turn around, but “worried the hospital will have more and more patients.”
COVID patients are not fully vaccinated.
At the inpatient census last week, no COVID cases were fully vaccinated, Ramirez said. In addition, the hospital did not find that people who had been fully vaccinated were hospitalized for the virus.
Creighton said after the introduction of the vaccine, the patient population changed. Earlier, older people or indigenous people would come to the hospital with COVID. Because the elderly are the most vaccinated age group in Alaska and the indigenous population is leading the state’s vaccination efforts, today’s Covid patients are often among another group.
“These people are young people,” Creighton said. “These are middle-aged white men, sorry to say that – but it’s actually a demographic of people who don’t get vaccinated or don’t feel compelled to get vaccinated because they don’t get vaccinated. They are younger than 40, and they want to see what vaccines will do before receiving them. ”
Covid patients have anger.
When hospitals adopt elderly patients, they express their gratitude to hospital staff, who have changed with population dynamics, Ebenal said.
“These are general traits,” she observes, “but some of these people are anti-vaxxers, anti-masking, and they don’t believe they have COVID or get sick because of the disease, and our staff are very angry. people”
Ebenal said hospital workers don’t feel the community cares about their jobs.
“Our morale is very low,” she said. “We have to make sure they know the community is appreciating what they are doing because they are crowded now in a different way than before. As before “
The event is increased in Fairbanks.
Creighton said the coronavirus patients and the increase in hospitalizations, combined with the high social activity in the region, are worrying for hospital workers.
“There is a disconnect where we have the opening of the school bus filling business, the restaurant is going on and we have visitors going on. But we have our highest case rates, ”she said.“ We are like this. Has anyone seen it? This place is on fire with COVID. “
Fairbanks North Star Borough is more than three times the average weekly Covid-19 patient this month, according to election data. This region has the highest viral transmission in Alaska, according to the Department of Health Social Services.
Vaccination is low
One of the main factors driving the case in the Fairbanks region is the low vaccination rate, Ramirez said, at 36.5% of those fully vaccinated, the constituency remains second after the injection rate. State-wide vaccines
“What we always know from science is that if we have a lot of viruses in our community and are not vaccinated and people don’t wear masks around the world, it will spread,” she said. that”
Officials are recommending that unvaccinated people mask their face and do as much outdoor activities as possible. They’re taking steps to make it easier for people to get vaccinated.
Half of the adults in Alaska received at least a first dose of the vaccine on Friday, the other 30% considered getting vaccinated and the other 20% didn’t want to be vaccinated, said health director Heidi Hedberg. To reach her immunity, about 70% to 80% of the community should be immune to the virus, said state epidemiologist Joe McLaighin.
“Not everyone is vaccinated,” Ramirez said, “but we need a lot of vaccines to protect ourselves and protect everyone.”
Contact staff writer Alena Naiden at 459-7587. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal