THE WOODLANDS, Texas - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Houston, hospitals are filling up fast.
Emergency Room Dr. Jason Knight says the number one thing he’s hearing from his patients who are sick with COVID-19 right now is ’why didn’t I get vaccinated?’
"I worked all night last night and I can’t even tell you how many times I saw sick 20, 30, and 40-year-olds who are going to our ICUs or the floors saying 'oh my gosh I wish I had known better," Dr. Knight said. "I wish I had gotten vaccinated’ and they have wives and small kids."
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Many seem to have a change of heart about the vaccine when it may be too late. One social media post, for instance, reads: "I am not vaccinated by choice and that’s my right."
Well, the same person after being hospitalized with COVID-19 has now posted: "Prayer’s appreciated! We have all been fighting COVID for over a week. All I can say is get the vaccine if you haven’t had it, this stuff is no joke."
Dr. Knight, who works in the ER at Methodist Hospital in The Woodlands, says it's an emotionally ‘challenging’ and ‘frustrating' time for medical professionals.
"Emotionally it’s incredibly challenging right now and to be honest I'm not sure how to put this in a politically correct way but it is frustrating right now that so many sick people who are unvaccinated are coming in right now because this is preventable," says. "We have a 20-bed Emergency Department for example at Houston Methodist The Woodlands and multiple times this past week we’ve had over 90 patients in our 20-bed Emergency Department".
CONTINOUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
Hospitals across Houston have similar scenarios with some even converting storage areas.
"Every one of our hospitals right now in Houston Methodist are completely full. We’re holding multiple admissions in the waiting room. We’re actually holding admissions up and down the hallways". "Literally any space we can use to do patient care is what we’re doing".
Dr. Knight says about a month ago 52% of Methodist COVID patients had the highly contagious Delta Variant. That number has now jumped to 97%.
"The virus has mutated from the original version so it’s much better at attaching to people’s lungs and their inner airways so it makes it more infectious," he said.
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The increase in COVID cases comes as there’s a shortage of nurses but those who are on the frontline and the worst may be yet to come.
"Every one of them are working incredible hours and taking on extra shifts working 12, 14,15 hours trying to care for all of these people," Dr. Knight said. "We really need the help right now. It really is a dire situation."
Dr. Knight says your best defense against COVID is getting vaccinated and practicing the same safety strategies you’ve heard about for more than a year now, social distancing, regularly washing your hands, and wearing a mask in public, which many people are choosing not to do lately.
"One of the reasons that the medical community, people like me are so concerned right now is we haven’t even seen the impact from back to school yet and that can cause a lot of spreading," he said. "So I would say please vaccinate your 12 to 18-year-old kids."
He concluded by saying as COVID patients pour into area hospitals this time the community isn’t shut down so they are also still treating victims of car wrecks, heart attacks, broken bones, infections and he wants to stress the hospital is still open and available to take care of patients who need care.