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Nurses are leaving their jobs as COVID cases surge and wildfires burn in B.C.'s Interior – CBC.ca

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Health-care staff in B.C.’s Interior are being overwhelmed by the twin emergencies of persistent wildfires and rising COVID-19 cases, and some of them are leaving their jobs because of it.

Multiple nurses and doctors who spoke to CBC News said roughly two-thirds of emergency room nurses at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops had left their job in recent months due to stress and burnout.

“I would genuinely say that the situation is dire on a daily basis,” said one emergency room nurse whom CBC News agreed not to identify. “There are currently about 24 empty positions in our emergency department. I know several nurses who are considering leaving the profession or quitting nursing because it’s not worth their mental health.”

The nurse said they personally feel they are “in over my head” and constantly worry they are going to cost a patient’s life because the workload is too much to handle.

“If a fourth wave [of COVID-19] does hit and hits hard, we would not be able to accommodate that.”

Staff from other parts of B.C. asked to help

Meanwhile, two internal memos viewed by CBC News confirm other hospitals in the region are over capacity and in need of additional help, even asking people from other parts of the province to volunteer to come help.

The first, which was sent out by Interior Health on July 13, indicated the Vernon Jubilee Hospital had declared “virtual code orange” with the 196-bed facility counting 236 patients — or 120 per cent capacity — as the wildfire risk in the region increased. Code orange in B.C. means “disaster.”

The second, which has been circulated on social media, was distributed to health-care staff on Vancouver Island on Aug. 18. It asked health-care providers willing to be deployed to Interior Health to sign up with the province’s Emergency Health Provider Registry.

That registry was created during the wildfire season of 2017 to make sure staff can be deployed to health regions in need of help during emergencies.

On Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged the stresses being felt in the Interior “as we are dealing with the displacements of peoples across the Interior Health region due to the ongoing wildfire situation,” adding, “It has strained resources in a number of communities,” including Nelson, Vernon and Kamloops.

However, she said she would not call the situation “dire.”

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said asking staff to volunteer to be deployed to other health regions reflects an “extremely serious” wildfire situation in B.C., as patients and people living in long-term care in communities under evacuation alert are moved around the province, putting additional strain on staff.

“What we’re seeing in some hospitals is real pressure,” he said. “It’s something we do on a regular basis, which is to seek people to support the regions.”

Royal Inland Hospital at breaking point: doctors

However, Scott Duvall who represents the Thompson/North Okanagan region for the B.C. Nurses’ Union, said the problems in Kamloops go beyond a short-term emergency or routine staffing shortages.

Instead, he said, it’s a systemic failure that is impacting Royal Inland Hospital’s ability to recruit and retain new employees.

“I recently spoke with one of our recent new [nursing] grads from Thompson Rivers University,” he said. “She said that a large percentage of those that graduated with her are choosing not to go to Royal Inland because of their experience there [as students].”

Emergency room doctor Henk Van Zyl said the staffing shortages he’s been observing at Royal Inland are unsustainable, particularly for nurses who often bear the brunt of the extra work.

“We’ve had nurses leave their shifts crying. We’ve had nurses feeling that they can’t tolerate it anymore. They’re feeling that their job is at risk because they can’t provide good medical care,” he said. “When people lose faith that [this problem] is going to be resolved … then it becomes even more difficult to recruit new nurses, because who’s going to come when you know that the working environment isn’t conducive to a good lifestyle?” 

If a fourth wave [of COVID-19] does hit and hits hard, we would not be able to accommodate that​​​​​– Emergency room nurse at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops

Roger Parsonage, interim vice-president of clinical operations for Interior Health North, said recruitment is the health authority’s No. 1 focus as a streamlined hiring process is rolled out to attract new employees to the region. 

In the meantime, though, emergency room physician Dr. Keith Hutchison warns the situation at Royal Inland Hospital is the worst he’s seen in his 32 years there. The repercussions of this summer could be felt for years to come, he said.

“We’re losing 25 to 30 per cent of our emergency nurses,” he said. “That’s huge.”

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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? – Delta-Optimist

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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?

Experts say there’s no strong evidence that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.

Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.

The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.

In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.

The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against delta. Among children 12 and older — who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than those who have had the shots, CDC data show.

___

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

What can employers do if workers avoid COVID-19 vaccines?

Can I get ‘long COVID’ if I’m infected after vaccination?

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press


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Data from 3 major hospital systems reveals how many COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated – Bring Me The News

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While the COVID vaccines are shown to be effective albeit not bulletproof at preventing infection from the virus, their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death is much greater.

Four Minnesota healthcare institutions provided specific data that shows the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, and how many are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.

Allina Health, which has 14 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, reports that almost four out of five COVID-19 patients hospitalized through Sept. 20 were unvaccinated.

Its data show that of 176 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 20, 32 were in the ICU and 21 required a ventilator. Hospitalized patients who were fully vaccinated represented 22.7% of the total, and just 15.6% of the ICU cases and 9.5% of the cases with a ventilator. 

Credit: Allina Health

HealthPartners, which has nine hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told Bring Me The News that it has cared for 338 COVID-19 patients in the past 30 days and 53 of them (15.7%) were fully vaccinated. 

“Of those 53 patients, only six required intensive care, two needed the support of a ventilator and nobody died. Year-to-date, 6.3% of hospitalized patients have been fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson from HealthPartners said. 

Sanford Health, which operates 22 regional hospitals, is reporting that 10.1% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 21 were fully vaccinated. Only two of 45 in the ICU and one of 34 patients on a ventilator were fully vaxxed,

Hospitalizations (1)

Sanford Health

More of the same from CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals in the region. The latest data provided Thursday (it changes daily and even hourly) had six of 67 COVID-19 inpatients documented as fully vaccinated. 

COVID-19 Hospitalizations_9.23.2021

CentraCare

To recap, that’s four major hospital systems that are reporting between 9% and 22% of all COVID-19 patients being fully vaccinated, with even lower percentages of vaccinated patients in the ICU or on a ventilator. 

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool in stopping the spread of infection and preventing serious illness and death,” the HealthPartners spokesperson said.

Bring Me The News has requested vaccinated and unvaccinated ratios from other major providers, including Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Hennepin Healthcare and Essentia Health. 

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330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW

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B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.

There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.

The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.

87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.

The new/active cases include:

* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932

* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909

* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181

* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977

* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654

* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44

There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.

From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417

* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)

* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437

* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)

* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)

* Not vaccinated: 289.0

* Partially vaccinated: 87.9

* Fully vaccinated: 27.0

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)

* Not vaccinated: 46.5

* Partially vaccinated: 13.3

* Fully vaccinated: 1.8

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.

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