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Methodist doctors discuss ‘devastating trajectory’ of COVID surge

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 2:27 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -- Two doctors with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare hosted a briefing Tuesday focused on the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Shirin Mazumder along with hospitalist Dr. John Eick spoke about the “devastating trajectory our community continues on with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Methodist, they have 206 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the hospital system -- up from 119 a week ago. The last time there were that many COVID-19 patients in Methodist hospitals was Jan. 20, 2021 at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Tuesday, there are 48 COVID-19 patients in Methodist ICUs -- up from 30 a week ago -- and four ICU beds available.

“Unfortunately, if these case rates continue as they have been, and at this time there’s no sign of slowing in the community, we’ll surpass our peak numbers within the week I expect,” said Eick.

Eick said the hospital reopened its COVID unit a month ago and expanded it to the entire floor it used last winter.

COVID-19 briefing with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Aug. 3, 2021

Dr. Shirin Mazumder and Dr. John Eick, with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, are discussing the "devastating trajectory" of the latest COVID-19 surge. https://bit.ly/3ypyT6m

Posted by Action News 5 on Tuesday, August 3, 2021

“Despite thinking the most dire times are behind us, we are now seeing them in front of us,” he said. “And frankly it’s scary. This is a battle that we were prepared to fight when COVID was on its way a year and a half ago in anticipation and getting everything in place to take care of patients. We got those things in place, we saw our surges. We saw our big surge last winter, and then now we thought we were past this. We thought we wouldn’t have to see this again.”

He continued: “You can just see it on people’s faces, the dismay, that we thought we were past this, didn’t think we were going to have to reopen the COVID unit, have to be talking about how to take care of all these patients if we reach capacity at some point. So it’s tough, in particularly in light of the fact that we have something to stop this. We have the vaccine, we know it works. the vast vast majority of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 now are unvaccinated, and so we know that these people don’t need to suffer in the way that they are. the whole system doesn’t need to be strained in the way that it is because we have a good vaccine.”

Mazumder weighed in on the occurrence of breakthrough cases but emphasized the majority of those patients have good outcomes. She also shared that a lot of unvaccinated patients who become very ill express regret for not getting the vaccine.

“It’s really disheartening to see cases go up like they are to levels that we were seeing before the vaccines were widely available,” she said. “So many of the hospitalizations and deaths that we’re seeing are avoidable through vaccinations. We really encourage people that are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families and our community.”

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