Hospitals Brace For Impact Of New Variant While Still Handling Delta

Hospitals across the country have been hit with staff shortages and ICU overflows.

Hospitals Brace For Impact Of New Variant While Still Handling Delta

While many states are still battling the COVID –19 Delta variant, Omicron — the new COVID-19 spin off — has many in the health care field, like Dr. Brad Greenberg with San Juan Regional Medical Center in New Mexico, bracing for an even worse 2022.

"We're anticipating that Omicron will make itself apparent here in New Mexico soon," he said.

Dr. Greenberg says they're still fighting the Delta variant that first appeared about 12 months ago.

Its been a tough couple of years. His hospital and those across the country have been hit with staff shortages and ICU overflows.  

"Unfortunately, this current surge is clearly the worst we've endured," Greenberg said. "We're up to about 280% capacity of our ICUs ... So we had to reach out to our partners at the state department of health and also the federal government ... Two teams from the United States Navy are here assisting us."

Michigan also called in military support. Mississippi native Army Sergeant Shundrieka Jones, who is stationed out of Fort Polk, Louisiana, is one of the respiratory therapists in Michigan to help.

"I'm here to help offset the workload of the therapists that have been working the pandemic for the past two years," Jones said. 

The CDC says Americans have been at war with COVID-19 and its variants for about two years now.  After China reported its first scrape with the mysterious disease, it took no time for it to spread into a global pandemic with variants breaking off and sometimes creating stronger strains.

According to the CDC, America has been battling several variants: alpha, beta, gamma – the dangerous Delta variant and now the 5th one being Omicron.  

Most of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, with one health care system in hard-hit Wisconsin saying 88% of their COVID patients in the ICU did not get their shots. 

Sergent Jones says she tries to keep her patients calm, often talking to them, whether they can speak back or not and looks at this position she was called up for as a chance to do some good while continuing to learn.  

"I'm extremely honored, honestly. Being the rank I am in the military, not being able to do the job often, it's very good that I get to come here and get some experience, especially with the pandemic," she said.

And as Americans head into 2022, fears are heightening. Many worried about having another deadly year, forced to isolate away from loved ones, more possible lockdowns and school closings and life not as we know it.