When COVID-19 vaccines first became available, Barbara Chapman, DNP said there was a sense of hope in the medical community after being on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic for months.
That hope, according to Chapman, has recently turned to a familiar overwhelming feeling with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations following months of clinics. Chapman is a family nurse practitioner serving McKinney and east Texas. Their clinic in McKinney is able to refer patients with symptoms to hospitals, if needed.
“We were hopeful we’d gotten on top of this, and there was an end in sight. So, to see this resurgence is disheartening,” Chapman said Tuesday. “The mental health care component of this is really affecting nurses all over the country, especially my colleagues here in the Dallas area.”
The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council reported another increase in hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, with 1,267 battling the virus from hospitals in Trauma Service Area E. According to the council, there were 1,233 COVID-19 patients on Monday.
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The region had 328 hospitalizations one month ago on June 27, according to council president Stephen Love.
“This [1,267] represents 8.93% of bed capacity and 24.17% of adult ICU patients, which means approximately a quarter of our adult ICU patients have COVID-19,” Love wrote in an email.
Speaking with NBC 5 Tuesday, Chapman stresses nurses and other healthcare workers are in need of support in order to push through this latest spike in cases.
“Initially, we didn’t have the PPE, the physical PPE. Now that’s been solved, we don’t have the mental PPE that we need. We need mental health PPE,” she said. “We felt like we were at least on top of it and now just the emotional toll that it’s taking on us, and the emotional toll on folks who are not becoming vaccinated…the folks who don’t want to be vaccinated for whatever their reason, it’s hard.”
Currently, Tarrant County has the most amount of hospitalized patients within TSA E with 457 followed by Dallas with 376. Collin County currently has 171 patients, Denton County has 62, Hunt County has 33, Grayson County has 36 and Rockwall County has 41.
“The important thing to remember is, well…if the vaccine works so great, then why are these hospitalizations happening? Well, most of the cases in the hospitals are unvaccinated folks. Those that got vaccinated, they’re not getting hospitalized,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said Tuesday. “So, the message here is let’s get vaccinated, so we can quit getting hospitalized with COVID.”
As of Tuesday, Taneja said the positivity rate in Tarrant County has reached 18%.
At Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, hospital officials reported Tuesday case counts at the hospital are climbing back to rates that have not been seen since February. The hospital is currently treating 13 patients with COVID-19, including five patients in the ICU.
Dr. Marc Mazade, medical director of Infection Control and Prevention at Cook Children’s, stressed the importance of awareness regarding the delta variant and vaccinations.
“The delta variant is ripping through the unimmunized population like wildfire. We’re having some cases in immunized people as well, but they’re not very severe,” Dr. Mazade said. “Some of our kids are coming in with severe respiratory distress just like adults do with a sudden onset with difficulty breathing, can’t get up and go to the bathroom, I’m exhausted…I just can’t breathe anymore.”
Mazade recently published a 10-point safety guide for parents and schools, as many schools prepare to reopen in August. In it, includes making sure all children are up to date on the routine childhood vaccinations needed for school entry along with revisiting the latest masking decisions in light of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
The guide also encourages COVID-19 vaccination of all eligible children and adults.