Omicron Boom Spurs Breakdown Of Vital Services Nationwide

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The ambulances in Kansas are heading for the hospitals, then all of a sudden the road changes because the hospitals are full. Employee shortages in New York are causing delays at garbage and subway vendors and lowering the ranks of firefighters and emergency personnel. Airport officers have closed security checkpoints at Phoenix’s largest terminal, and faculties across the country are battling to find academics for their conference rooms.

The current explosion of omicron-fueled coronavirus infections in the United States inflicts a blackout of key features and suppliers – the latest illustration of how COVID-19 is retaining a life-changing life more than two years after the start of the pandemic .

“It really reminds, I think, everyone when COVID-19 first appeared and there were such major disruptions in all aspects of our normal lives,” said Tom Cotter, director of emergency response and preparedness on the HOPE nonprofit global wellness project. . “And the sad reality is that there is no way to predict what will happen next until we have our vaccination numbers – globally – rising.”

First responders, hospitals, faculties and authorities’ businesses have used a method at all levels to protect the general public, but they fear how long they will stick with it.

Paramedics in Johnson County, Kansas work 80 hours a week. Ambulances have continually been forced to change course when the hospitals they head to to inform them they are too overwhelmed to help them, has complicated the already anxious family members of the patients driving behind them. When ambulances arrive at hospitals, a few of their urgent patients end up in emergency rooms because there are no beds.

Travelers wait in a TSA security line as they make their way to Miami International Airport on December 28. Over the Christmas holiday weekend, more than 2,000 flights were canceled as the airways handled an increase in COVID-19.

Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas hospital, said when the head of a rural hospital had no room to ship his dialysis patients this week, hospital workers consulted a manual and “tried putting in catheters and numbers.” how to do it.

Medical services have been hit by a “double whammy,” he said. The number of people with COVID-19 at the University of Kansas hospital fell from 40 on December 1 to 139 on Friday. At the same time, more than 900 staff have either been sick with COVID-19 or are waiting to see results – 7% of the 13,500 hospital workers.

“What I’m hoping for and what we’re going to keep our fingers crossed is that at his peak … maybe he’ll have the same rapid drop we’ve seen in South Africa“Stites said, referring to how quickly the number of cases has fallen in this country.” We don’t know. It’s just hope.

The omicron variant spreads much more simply than the different strains of coronavirus and has already been found to be dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects those who have been vaccinated or who have already been infected with previous variations of the virus. However, early research shows that omicron is much less likely to trigger severe illness than the earlier delta variant, and the vaccination and booster nonetheless offers solid safety against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

Yet its direct transmissibility has led to a skyrocketing of cases in the United States, affecting both businesses, government workplaces, and public providers.

In downtown Boise, Idaho, customers lined up outside a drugstore before it opened Friday morning and before long the road passed through the large drugstore. Pharmacies have been hit hard by staff shortages, both because staff are sick or have left completely.

Pharmacy technician Anecia Mascorro said that before the pandemic, the Sav-On pharmacy, where she worked all the time, had prescriptions for the next day. Now, it takes a little longer to fill the many orders that can be pouring in.

“The demand is crazy – not everyone gets their scripts fast enough, so they keep pushing us,” Mascorro said.

In Los Angeles, more than 800 police and firefighters were sidelined due to the virus on Thursday, inflicting barely more response time for ambulances and firefighters.

Los Angeles County Fire Department cars sit with a medical name Jan. 7 in Inglewood, California. Every now and then, firefighters transport sick people to hospital in fire pit engines due to limited staff amid an explosion of omicron-fueled coronavirus infections at an ambulance company that contracts for fireplace division with.

In New York, officers had to delay or cut back on trash and subway providers due to a virus-fueled staff hemorrhage. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said about a fifth of metro operators and drivers – 1,300 people – were absent these days. Nearly a quarter of the city’s sanitation division staff fell ill on Thursday, Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said.

“Everyone works 24/7, 12-hour shifts,” Grayson said.

The city’s home division has also adapted to a greater number of absences. Officials said on Thursday that 28% of EMS staff were sick, compared to around 8% to 10% on a traditional day. Twice as many firefighters as usual were also absent.

In contrast, the police division saw a drop in its disease rate over the previous week, officers said.

At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, two checkpoints at the airport’s busiest terminal were closed due to insufficient numbers of Transportation Security Administration brokers confirmed for work, according to statements by officers from the airport and TSA.

Meanwhile, faculties from coast to coast have tried to maintain in-person teaching despite extensive coach absences. In Chicago, a tense standoff between the University District and the Academics Union over distance learning and COVID-19 safety protocols led to the cancellation of classes for the previous three days. In San Francisco, nearly 900 educators and assistants declared themselves sick Thursday.

In Hawaii, where public schools are located in one district of the state, 1,600 academics and staff were absent Wednesday due to illness or pre-arranged travel or departure. The state academics union criticized training officials for not preparing for the next vacuum. Osa Tui Jr., head of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said counselors and security guards were forced to go “guard a classroom.”

“It’s very inappropriate,” Tui said at a briefing. “Having this model where there are so many teachers and the department says, ‘Send your kid’ to a classroom that doesn’t have a teacher, what’s the point? “

In New Haven, Connecticut, where many academics have gone out every day this week, directors have helped cover conference rooms. Some academics say they recognize this, however, it can be complicated for middle school students, including due to the physical and psychological stress they are already feeling from the pandemic.

“We have already been so tested. How far can the elastic stretch here? Asked Leslie Blatteau, president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers.

Kelleher reported from Honolulu. Tang reported from Phoenix. Associated Press editors Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; Paul Davenport in Phoenix; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Michelle L. Price, David Porter and Michael R. Sisak in New York; and Michael Melia in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report.


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