Hospital staff is stretched thin as COVID cases have been on the rise since July, with North Dakota having the second-largest 14-day case increase behind West Virginia.
Sanford Health has 136 patients hospitalized with COVID — a number they have not seen since the end of January.
Dr. Michael LeBeau of Sanford Health said, “If you look at delta, compared to the other variants of the virus, it becomes much more transmissible, or we’re able to spread it much much more easily than we were able to earlier in the course of the pandemic.”
Sanford’s data shows the average age of unvaccinated patients is about 20 years younger than those who are vaccinated.
The length of stay for non-ICU patients is about six and a half days, whereas those in the ICU tend to stay for two weeks or more.
Other hospitals like Trinity Health state that 1 in 5 of their hospital patients have the coronavirus, with a large percentage of patients unvaccinated and no underlying conditions.
Many experts are saying that this staggering rise in hospitalizations is preventable.
Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, the Health Officer at First District Health, said, “We know enough about the virus to prevent the illness. We know mitigation strategies.”
The Director of Trinity, Dr. Jeffery Sather, said that they have now gone back to dedicating an entire floor to COVID patients.
“A month ago we were seeing three to five patients in the hospital at any given time. It’s kind of been that way over the last several months. Over the last couple of weeks, the numbers are spiking were starting that upward tick. Today, we have 22-25 patients hospitalized,” said Dr. Sather.
Some experts are saying cases are only expected to continue rapidly rising over the next four to six weeks.
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, North Dakota ranks 28th in the nation when it comes to the number of vaccines administered — with nearly 319,000 North Dakotans now fully vaccinated.