A large part of the hospitalizations for COVID-19 are of patients who sought medical assistance for other conditions or health situations and, during the hospital stay, the virus was detected, according to two doctors with first-hand information about this situation.
But, although some patients are asymptomatic or do not present severe complications, others do develop serious health conditions that even merit treatment in intensive care units.
On Tuesday, the census of hospitalizations for COVID-19 on the island was 717 adults and 87 minors. Of the total, 104 adults and five minors were in intensive care.
“Most of the cases we have did not come from COVID, but came from a fracture or accident”said yesterday, Tuesday, the doctor Carlos “Charlie” Gómez, director of emergency room at Centro Médico.
Gómez explained that COVID-19 tests are not performed on all patients who arrive at this hospital, but rather those who have a compromised airway or are going to undergo an operation.
“Not everyone is being tested”, he reiterated.
Gómez warned that people infected with this virus should only go to a hospital if they have a persistent fever on the verge of dehydration or have moderate to severe respiratory distress.
“This virus gives like a cold. If the patient does not have major criteria, such as being an immunosuppressed or severe asthmatic patient, they can stay at home and take medications for colds or nasal (symptoms) “, He said.
When these cases reach an emergency room, he warned, there is a risk of infecting others.
“Many people have not yet been vaccinated. This very morning (Tuesday), I saw a patient who told me that, in the church, they told him not to get vaccinated because they were going to inject him with the devil. Those are cases that die and then the pastor lives on. There is still a lot of ignorance, strange religious ideas. It is important that they get vaccinated “, he stressed.
The infectologist Miguel Colon He agreed, highlighting that, in recent weeks, he has only come across one patient who had the COVID-19 vaccine booster. The rest, he said, only had two doses.
Colón pointed out that, at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, where he works, 30% of the patients with COVID-19 treated have arrived for other ailments or emergencies, such as acute diverticulitis, pulmonary aspiration, urinary tract infections or heart attacks, among others. It is in the antigen tests that they do on all patients, he said, that these cases are detected.
“Another 30% are patients who could be seen on an outpatient basis because they had acceptable oxygenation, but another 40% do arrive ill, and many go to intensive care“, He said.
Colón agreed that COVID-19 patients should only go to a hospital if they have complications, such as shortness of breath or poor oxygenation. These symptoms, he reported, can be monitored on an outpatient basis with an oximeter. If it scores less than 94%, you must go to a hospital.
“The omicron gives a little sore throat, cough, fever and muscle pain. That can be handled on an outpatient basis “, He said.
According to the infectologist, despite the rise in admissions for COVID-19, not all are critical cases. He added that patients with prolonged hospital stays of two weeks or more are at risk of acquiring a nosocomial infection (contracted in a health center). The situation is aggravated, he warned, due to the lack of hospital personnel, especially nursing personnel. Meanwhile, he highlighted how many of the fatal cases are from patients with pre-existing health conditions.
“We are misdirected. We have to move from so many samples and tests (of COVID-19) in airports and workers to do more vaccination. Hospitals are not collapsing, we have beds, the problem is (lack of) staff (to care for them) “, he concluded.