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UAB doctors say 60% of their COVID patients are on ventilators

(KY3)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 11:04 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 12:36 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Doctors with UAB said hospitalized patients with COVID-19 right now are battling similar and more serious illness than the first wave.

“Very sick patients,” UAB’s Dr. Sarah Nafziger said. “A little sicker than what we saw in the earlier surge.”

Nafziger said patients now are about ten years younger than with the previous surge. She said the average age is around 55.

Nafziger said at UAB, sixty percent of their patients are on ventilators or Echmo machines. Statewide, about one third of patients are on ventilators. Dr. Nafziger said, “What we are seeing in our critical care unit, if you look statewide, about one third of the people in critical care units are on a ventilator or intubated on a breathing machine, however you want to describe that.... At UAB hospital, we tend to, as a referral center, we have more transfer in and some of the sicker patients, so if you look in our critical care unit at our COVID population, it tends to be a lot sicker patients, so about two thirds of them are actually on ventilators and then some of them are on a machine called Echmo, which is a little more advanced support. So, definitely very sick patients. A little sicker than what we saw in the earlier surge, in my estimation, so are people still responding to therapies? Yeah, they’re still responding to therapies, they’re still very sick. It’s very similar to what we saw in the past.”

Patients are responding to the in-hospital treatment therapies, but Nafziger said it’s not always a guarantee.

“For the vast majority of people who get Covid, maybe it is not that big of a deal, but what we are seeing with the widespread population that is not vaccinated, we are seeing a lot of people who are critically ill and are starting to fill up our hospitals again,” Nafziger said.

Dr. Nafziger said 97 percent of patients hospitalized across the state are unvaccinated. She said most breakthrough cases are not ending up in the hospital, but the ones that do are getting minor breathing treatments or care for other underlying conditions.

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