Overwhelmed hospital and staff, how Siskiyou Co. is handling COVID-19

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Cali. – Siskiyou County Public Health told NBC5 News on top of more COVID-19 cases the county’s hospitals are struggling to get workers. Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka announced it’s in crisis mode starting Monday. One of the reasons is an overwhelming number of critically ill patients many with COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is real. And to see people who die and to see people who are critically ill it’s stressful,” said Michael Madden, Fairchild Medical Center.

Now the hospital is having to cancel all elective surgeries until further notice. The majority of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. While Fairchild Medical Center is in crisis mode, they are still urging the public to keep seeking care if it’s needed. It’s still able to treat patients but is just lacking in some resources

Dr. Aaron Stutz doesn’t just work at Siskiyou County Public Health he’s also on the front lines as an emergency room physician. He’s no stranger to busy workdays, but he said much of the community’s resistance to getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is having a direct impact on the hospitals.

“The workload is enough to chase people away,” said Dr. Stutz, “I feel like most people who’ve decided to get the vaccine have already gotten it. Most people who aren’t it just isn’t on their mind because they don’t work in hospitals, they don’t know anybody who works in hospitals, and they don’t know anybody that’s died yet”.

The keyword is yet. He said with the rapid spread of the Delta variant, it’s likely most people will eventually be touched by a COVID-related death. Something he and other medical professionals deal with every day.

“We’ve had people just die while waiting for bed space for normal everyday medical things,” said Dr. Stutz.

When the pandemic first started, many of the community supported health care workers. More than a year later, the perception has changed.

“It feels like the community is asking us to suck it up and get through this on our own. It would be a lot easier if they were on our side and could help us out a little bit.”
Doctors say if you want to help your local health care workers… Get vaccinated.

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