COVID-19: Frontline Report From Southern California

Somewhere in SoCal?

From Aesop (an emergency department nurse) at Raconteur Report:

COVID is making a small comeback; nothing like last December/January when we WERE being crushed by it. We just got our first cases since February, starting about two weeks ago. And one jackass employee who came to work sick, and exposed an entire department to it, instead of taking sick days….

Our ICU is half-full, because half the nursing staff left or quit after COVID 1.0 due to workload burnout. So half the beds are full, with the normal ICU patients (intubated, post-surgical, heart attacks, strokes, major trauma, etc.). The other half are unstaffed, nightly, because we can’t find replacement ICU nurses at anything less than exorbitant rates, so they are unusable beds. AFAIK, we don’t have a single COVID patient in the ICU, but if we did, it wouldn’t be more than 1 or 2. The bigger problem is that this backs up ICU patients into the ER for days on end, and so new patients can’t get in for hours, even for serious problems.

Our new COVID cases are about a 50:50 split between fully vaxxed, and totally unvaxxed.

I’m not vaxxed, and don’t intend to be in any foreseeable future. I won’t be a beta-test guinea pig for an experimental not-a-vaccine, with questionable safety, and no liability to the makers. And even if they put skin in the game – which none of them have, to date – I can’t sue anyone if I’m dead. N95s and hand washing got me through the last 18 months with frothing fulminant COVID patients at halitosis range just fine; I see no need to change course at this point, come hell or high water. When someone makes an actual vaccine, with absolutely the same level of safety as a flu shot, or tetanus booster, that isn’t a frankenvirus DNA experiment, we can talk. Until then, pass the hand sanitizer, and stay your sick ass over there please.

So far at my little hospital in southern Arizona, we’re not seeing nearly as much inpatient COVID-19 as we did in January. But more than a month ago.

The hospital system I work in is requiring all front line healthcare employees to be vaccinated by November 1. Another major system here is doing the same. We have about five major hospital systems.

Aesop’s experience in SoCal is that “new COVID cases are about a 50:50 split between fully vaxxed, and totally unvaxxed.” I suspect that’s all emergency department cases, not simply those who are admitted. As of July 27, 53% of all Californians are fully vaccinated. This suggests to me that the vaccinations may not be very effective at keeping cases out of the ED. But the vaccines were sold to us from the get-go as preventing ~90% of “serious cases” and death. IIRC, serious cases were defined as those needing inpatient care.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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