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ND COVID-19: Surge in hospitalizations expected to continue

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Sanford Medical Center
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Hospitalization typically lags a week or two behind community spread.

While much activity in North Dakota has gone “back to normal,” doctors, nurses and other health care workers are still inundated with patients suffering from COVID-19.

Dr. Avish Nagpal is an infectious disease physician at Sanford Health in Fargo, where he also serves as Medical Director for Infection Prevention. He says the recent surge in community cases has recently resulted in a surge in hospitalizations – and he doesn’t yet see an end in sight. Nagpal says it could be several weeks or a couple months before things improve – and staff is exhausted.

"You know, before they are doctors and nurses - they are human beings too, and they haven't had a break between the surges. What typically happens with any kind of surge, you have to delay a number of clinic visits and surgeries just to get more staff into the hospital to take care of patients. By the time you get caught up with the backlog of care, you get another surge. Even though the rest of the world has returned to normal, or kind of normal - health care workers continue to deal with covid on a daily basis."

Nagpal says while COVID infections may be on the decline in some areas of the country, they are still trending upward here in North Dakota. He says as of right now, there isn’t an issue of having enough room to house any patients who need care – but with staff shortages, quality of care and worker burnout is of significant concern.

At Sanford Health in Fargo, Nagpal says there are roughly 60 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. He says nearly 75 percent of them are not vaccinated.

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