Dec. 1: Douglas County, NE seeing highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations so far this year

The latest COVID-19 data is in for Nebraska.
The latest COVID-19 data is in for Nebraska.(MGN)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 4:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (KTIV) - More people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Douglas County, Nebraska than at any other time this year at 274, with a record-high 57 people on ventilators.

With positive cases and virus-related hospitalizations continuing to rise, doctors in Douglas County are urging community members to get vaccinated.

“If people could spend a day following us...it’s a little frustrating,” said Garrett Connor, an ICU nurse.

Garrett Connor works in the intensive care unity at Nebraska Medicine and every day for about a year, he’s been treating COVID-19 patients.

“A lot of them are scared and anxious it’s not something a lot of people experience, fighting for their breath, so to watch it is tough,” said Connor.

Connor says the vast majority of those who are hospitalized and struggling now are unvaccinated.

“The vaccine’s effective, we see it here every day, we don’t really see critically ill vaccinated patients unless they have some sort of immuno-compromised predisposing factor,” said Connor.

There are 57 COVID-19 patients on ventilators in Douglas County, and according to the county’s health dashboard, that is the most they’ve seen throughout the entire pandemic. Last year at this time there were 47 patients on ventilators.

“That is concerning to me that the increasing numbers show that we’ve kind of taken our eye off the things we know we can to do kind of prevent infection so it kind of, I think it shows our fatigue with this pandemic,” said Dr. Sharon Stoolman, a general pediatrician at Omaha Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Stoolman says of the 274 COVID patients in the county, 10 of them are children.

“For me, its been the older kids with significant acute COVID, so from about 8 or 9 until the teens and they are short of breath and what’s really challenging for them is as a healthy young person, they’ve never been short of breath like this, to walk to the bathroom that shouldn’t be a big deal for them,” said Dr. Stoolman.

Dr. Stoolman says the hospitalization and mortality rates for pediatric COVID patients are much lower, but there’s another threat for children they’re seeing more of.

“That multi-system inflammatory syndrome which has, it’s pretty scary when they come in, they are high fever and their blood pressures are low, and so it’s like a septic shock picture,” said Dr. Stoolman.

On a more positive note, Dr. Stoolman says there is a steady and consistent stream of families scheduling vaccine appointments for their children. A trend she hopes to see continue.

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