Midwestern doctor cares for rural community amid rising COVID cases

(NAPSI) —In rural Kansas, Dr. Kristina Darnauer is one of four physicians practicing in Rice County. She is also the only practicing family doctor in Sterling, where she lives with her husband and three children. Dr Darnauer delivers local babies, visits nursing homes, maintains clinical practice, and covers emergencies.

This year, his duties expanded to speak to members of the COVID-19 vaccine community and answer their questions. About 60% of local residents remain unvaccinated and Dr Darnauer and his hospital staff have seen the effects firsthand.

“It’s the hardest it’s been for us. Our healthcare system is totally overwhelmed, ”said Dr Darnauer, reflecting on the difficult months since the Delta variant first settled in the United States last summer. She called the local health community “drowned” as they strive to provide the best possible care to their patients.

Due to overcrowded intensive care units in nearby hospitals, there have been times when Dr Darnauer has not been able to transfer patients to a larger hospital for more specialized care.

“I saw two patients with COVID-19 die in my hospital last week,” she observed at the end of September. “My last weekend in the emergency room, I saw more COVID patients arriving sick than before. “

A health problem

COVID-19 remains a serious threat across the United States as we head into the second winter of the pandemic. The Delta variant, which now accounts for virtually all cases in the country, spreads more easily than the common cold and has seen a dramatic increase in hospitalizations nationwide. This was deeply felt in rural America, where case rates in September were about 54% higher than elsewhere, and death rates are now more than double those in urban areas.

What the CDC says

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have not yet been vaccinated are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from complications from COVID-19, compared to those who have already received their vaccine.

Other CDC data reveals that people aged 18 to 49 are the largest demographic group hospitalized with COVID-19 as of September 25. Studies also show that even for people who have a mild case of COVID-19 and avoid hospitalization, they remain at risk for post-COVID symptoms, often referred to as long COVIDs, which can last for weeks, months or more. Symptoms of a long COVID appear to affect up to one in three people infected with the virus.

Doctor’s advice

Many members of his close-knit community come to Dr Darnauer with questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination and whether it is the right choice for their families. Dr Darnauer’s response to his patients is clear and precise: “I have recommended the vaccine to everyone I love. Period.”

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, widely available, and free to anyone aged twelve and over in the United States. Additionally, the FDA has officially approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States for people sixteen years of age and older.

“We didn’t come out of the woods,” says Dr Darnauer, “but we have a really powerful tool to fight this and that is the vaccine. “

Learn more

If you have any questions about COVID-19 vaccines, talk to a doctor or pharmacist and visit www.GetVaccineAnswers.org for the latest information.

COVID-19 remains a serious threat across the United States as we head into the second winter of the pandemic. The Delta variant, which now accounts for virtually all cases in the country, spreads more easily than the common cold and has seen a dramatic increase in hospitalizations nationwide. This was deeply felt in rural America, where case rates in September were about 54% higher than elsewhere, and death rates are now more than double those in urban areas.

Editor’s Note: While this article may be of interest to anyone, it is especially useful for those who live in the Midwest, particularly the state of Kansas.

About Keneth T. Graves

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