Columbus hospital nurses fight COVID amid RSV rise in children

Columbus hospital nurses fight COVID amid RSV rise in children


Frontline health care workers like Lydia Walters are slogging through yet another wave of COVID-19 infections, albeit a smaller one that could have been prevented.

Walters started as a nurse at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s hospital in Westerville last fall during the height of COVID-19 hospitalizations. While the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases has again strained Walters and her colleagues, this time feels different, she said.

Rather than seeing elderly patients streaming in, she’s seen more younger people and middle-aged patients who are often unvaccinated.

>>Read More:More Ohioans getting vaccinated for COVID-19 after emergence of delta variant

Patients sickened with the virus seem to be faring better than the seniors hospitalized last fall and winter. They’re often there for a few days, but then they’re discharged and sent home.

“When I came into the field last year, it was the middle of the worst of it. It was incredibly exhausting,” she said. “With this wave of patients, I feel very in control of their care. We kind of have a routine down now.”

Nurse Jalicia Barbee puts on a face shield before entering a patient's room at Mount Carmel St. Ann's in Westerville on Tuesday. Rather than seeing elderly patients streaming in, hospital staff are treating an increasing number of younger people and middle-aged patients who are often unvaccinated.

It’s unclear whether the delta variant — a more contagious strain of COVID-19 — could yield another dramatic surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks and months, as it already has in other states.

If frontline workers like Walters are lucky, vaccinations may keep COVID spikes from overwhelming hospitals like they did last year.

Of the more than 5.9 million Ohioans fully vaccinated for COVID-19 since Jan. 1, 362 have been hospitalized with breakthrough infections and 67 have died, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That means 0.006% of breakthrough infections have resulted in hospitalizations and 0.001% have resulted in someone’s death.



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