Midwestern doctor tends to rural community amid rising COVID cases

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

This year, his duties have expanded to talking to members of his community about COVID-19 vaccines and answering their questions. Around 60% of local residents are still unvaccinated and Dr. Darnauer and his hospital staff have seen the effects first hand.

“This is the hardest it’s been for us. Our healthcare system is totally overwhelmed,” Dr Darnauer said, referring to the difficult months since the Delta variant took hold in the US last summer. She called the local healthcare community “drowned” as it strives to provide the best possible care to its patients.

Due to overcrowded intensive care units in surrounding hospitals, there were times when Dr. Darnauer was unable to transfer patients to a larger hospital for more specialized care.

“I had two COVID-19 patients who died in my hospital last week,” she observed in late September. “My last weekend in the ER, I saw more COVID patients getting sick than before.”

A health problem

COVID-19 remains a serious threat in 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 led to a dramatic increase in hospitalizations nationwide. This has been 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 of COVID-19, compared to those who have already received their vaccine.

Other data from the CDC 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 of post-COVID symptoms, often referred to as long COVIDs, which can last for weeks, months or longer. . Long COVID symptoms 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 see Dr. Darnauer with questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination and if it’s the right choice for their family. 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 in the United States age twelve and older. Additionally, the FDA has officially approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States for ages sixteen and older.

“We’re not off the hook,” says Dr Darnauer, “but we have a really powerful tool to fight this and that’s the vaccine.”

Learn more

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

COVID-19 remains a serious threat in 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 led to a dramatic increase in hospitalizations nationwide. This has been 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 helpful to those who live in the Midwest, especially in the state of Kansas.

About Keneth T. Graves

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