Frontline Medical Workers Stressed in New COVID-19 Surge

One North Texas emergency room closes for the rest of August in the COVID-19 surge

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Frontline medical workers report a new round of stress from the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The emergency room at Hunt Regional Medical Center in Commerce planned to close at midnight through the rest of August because of what officials there called a public health crisis.

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth reports a substantial rise in COVID-19 cases, nearly as high as the peak in January.

At Children’s Medical Centers in Dallas and Plano, COVID-19 isolations wards closed this spring.

But just like Parkland Hospital in Dallas that has reinstalled red doors, Children’s once again has COVID-19 isolation wards.

Dr. Carla Garcia Carreno is Chief of Infectious Diseases for Children’s Medical Centers.

“We are seeing severe cases, pretty severe cases of kids, who should have been able to be vaccinated. And they're not vaccinated,” she said.

Carreno said front-line workers are frustrated that some families still refuse vaccination, which stops or at least reduces the severity of the virus.

“We definitely have a good tool to use and I wish we could address the concerns so people get vaccinated,” Dr. Carreno said. “We have the numbers. And it was a very well-created vaccine. It's safe. And it's an effective tool.”

Dr. Nick Karr said his five Sinai Urgent Care Clinics in North Texas are seeing the same increase in COVID-19 patients, most of them unvaccinated.

He is working to hire more people to help respond to the surge.

“We're all stressed, right? We want to be done with this, and I think we all thought, we're starting to get there,” Dr. Karr said.

Care for his employees is part of the challenge in this new round of COVID-19 treatment.

“It's hard because we've been dealing with it day in and day out in our jobs for the past 18 months or so,” he said.

The Sinai clinics are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Karr said they are an option for patients who show COVID-19 symptoms and want a test when regular doctor offices are closed.

It also provides an option to the extremely crowded conditions of hospital emergency rooms.

“We think we serve a pretty critical role in that regard,” Dr. Karr said. “Having that low threshold of going in and seeking care when you think you have it is one of the ways we can prevent further spread.” Dr. Karr said.

The providers hope their efforts and more vaccination will help stop the increase in extremely ill patients.

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