Forbes Photo

Claire Stinger, Editor

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2019, health care workers were giving their best effort and halt the spread of this virus. However, as the number of cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to increase, their best effort comes down to the supplies and capacity at their hospital or clinic. A wide range of hospitals, including in Indiana, have started to reach their maximum capacity, with their Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) completely filled. Another limiting factor is the staff. Since President Joe Biden issued strict vaccine policies for health care workers, there has been an increase in resignations, leaving many hospitals short-staffed. 

The limited resources, staff, and space available leads to one prevailing question: What now? At this point, the hospitals are beginning to shut down certain units. An example of this can be seen in a hospital in New York. After the vaccine became mandatory, they lost nine staff members, all from the maternity unit. This New York hospital will no longer be able to keep their delivery rooms open and no longer will deliver babies. 

Aside from units beginning to close, limited resources impact other aspects of the hospital setting. With limited beds in the ICU, one Idaho hospital has to “ration” its beds. With this rationing comes very tough decisions for the staff. If they decide that “… a patient requires ICU care, someone else may have to be removed from a ventilator to make room.” (Forbes). Even if the ICU bed becomes available, there is a new question that surfaces: Do they have the other supplies to help care for this person? In some cases, the answer to this question is no.  

COVID-19 has greatly impacted the service that is provided in hospitals and clinics, nationally and internationally. COVID-19 has taken top priority, yet some patients have to take priority over others depending on the state of their health. As the Delta variant rages on, the future of COVID-19 in hospitals and the impact it will have is as unpredictable as the virus itself.