ARH officials fear for the worst as ICU beds are running out

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:50 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Dr. Maria Braman’s gravest concerns began with a phone call from a Louisiana hospital.

“They had tried Texas, they had tried Oklahoma, they had tried Mississippi, they had tried Missouri,” Dr. Braman said. “They could not find an ICU bed for COVID-positive patients.”

For Braman, it is bringing back haunting memories from last year and additional concerns for what is still to come.

“As a human being and as a healthcare professional, the images of what we saw last year in Italy and in New York,” Dr. Braman said. “And my fear that our staff won’t have the ability to care for people who need us.”

Appalachian Regional Hospital currently has 115 in-patient cases of COVID-19. With only three ICU beds left as of Monday, Dr. Braman said that nearly 97 percent of these people have one thing in common, they have not received a vaccine to help fight the virus.

“It’s just overwhelmingly unvaccinated people that are in the hospitals right now,” Dr. Braman said.

With numbers still on an upward climb, Braman has been left in states of grief, anger and distress.

“We had three deaths this weekend from COVID and we’re seeing younger and younger people, people who are leaving young children behind who are dying,” Dr. Braman said. “So I’m very sad and I wish that I knew how to get through to people.”

As the Delta variant continues to spread, Dr. Braman encourages people to care for their neighbors.

“We’re not the ones ending up in the hospital for the most part,” Dr. Braman said. “But we have so many friends and family members who are unvaccinated that now it’s important again for us to mask.”

For more information on COVID-19 incidence rates in your county, click here.

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