SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There are more patients at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls this week than there have been in 18 months. Sanford’s Chief physician says in addition to COVID-19 patients, the ER and ICU are busy with everything from injuries to strokes and pneumonia.
Sanford doctors predict the surge in COVID-19 cases will continue and will peak in the coming weeks.
“Unfortunately this continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Said Dr. Jeremy Cauwels.
Cauwels says Sanford continues to see younger people hospitalized with serious COVID-19 cases. Those who are the sickest and need the most care are people who have not been vaccinated.
“We admitted a 42-year-old last night, for instance, who will need to go directly to the intensive care unit because of the difficulty they are having getting over the COVID virus,” said Cauwels.
Cauwels says he is worried about having enough staff to properly deal with seriously ill people and says the last thing he would want is to turn someone away or delay their care.
“I would say this is absolutely a concern, one of the most difficult parts in all of our hospitals right now is staffing for this pandemic and staffing for all of the regular business that we do. This has been a concern throughout this time and it continues to be a concern now,” said Cauwels.
On Monday Sanford health did more COVID tests than at any other point in the pandemic, more than 4,000 just on Monday. And they had more positive tests than they’ve had in the past 6 weeks. Cauwels is concerned because some of those positive tests will turn into hospital and ICU patients.
“Our predictions are that sometime in the next two weeks we are going to see the peak of these hospitalizations, I hope we are at that plateau but that other number of the positive cases we’re seeing really makes me nervous that we haven’t quite gotten there yet, said Cauwels.
After the peak, Cauwels expects hospitals will remain busy because of increased cases of RSV, the flu, and other illnesses. He once again appeals to those who are not vaccinated to consider getting a shot to protect those around them. Cauwels also says masking is still important, it may not be popular, but it can slow the spread of COVID-19.