Sanford Health seeing a downward trend start in COVID-19 hospitalizations


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The number of COVID-19 patients in Sanford hospitals is down compared to last week. About 87 percent of the coronavirus patients in the hospital are unvaccinated.

Dr. Joshua Crabtree with Sanford Health says a downward trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations is taking shape within the health care system.

“We’re starting to see maybe a couple of leading indicators in the way of number of total tests that we’re doing, number of total positives that we’re seeing maybe are down slightly as well,” Crabtree, vice president of clinic at Sanford Health, said.

He says one possible factor is that more people are getting vaccinated.

“The higher your vaccination rate is, we know the vaccine is effective, we know it helps reduce transmission rates, we know it helps decrease severity of illness,” Crabtree said.

And now with FDA advisers backing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds, even more of the population is closer to being protected.

“We have known that while we’ve not been able to vaccinate that population to date, we have known that that’s been part of our vector or our spread, you know, it spreads through any of those who have been unvaccinated more consistently or maybe more aggressively than those who have been vaccinated,” Crabtree said. “So, to be able to vaccinate this population of children is going to be a potential game changer for us in our effort to get through this.”

Crabtree says the vaccine for younger kids still needs approval from the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“Once they weigh in, and we expect them to follow suit with what the FDA has suggested, once that happens, than we’re prepared and ready to start giving vaccines to our 5 to 11-year-olds, which is really exciting,” Crabtree said.

Sanford’s hospitalization data for this week also shows that most of the COVID-19 patients in ventilators and in the ICU are unvaccinated.

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