California hospital sees staff COVID-19 infections drop to “single digits” after achieving herd immunity

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As COVID-19 vaccinations pace up throughout the United States, a hospital in hard-hit California says its staff has achieved herd immunity. In December, when the pandemic was at its peak within the state, UC Davis Medical Center had 231 workers out due to COVID-19. 

On Wednesday, that quantity was simply 10. 

More than 56 million vaccine doses have been administered within the U.S. to date, though the nation remains to be removed from the herd immunity scientists say the nation wants to be protected. At UC Davis nevertheless, greater than 90% of the staff has obtained a minimum of their first shot — and have achieved that threshold. 

UC Davis nurse Chasity Whitmer was delivering infants on the peak of the pandemic. When the time got here for her to be vaccinated, she instructed CBS News’ David Begnaud that she hesitated.

“If I got the vaccine, would I get COVID? What would my side effects be? How long would it last?” Whitmer recalled questioning.

But with a husband who stays house and takes care of the youngsters, Whitmer instructed CBS News what modified her thoughts.

“I was orienting a relief charge nurse on my unit and we were kind of having a discussion,” she mentioned. “What happens if we got COVID? We wouldn’t be able to work. We wouldn’t have income, we wouldn’t have health insurance. And so we kind of just talked amongst each other and boosted our confidence up and stood in line to get vaccinated.”

She and greater than 90% of the staff at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento have obtained a minimum of one dose of the vaccine. 

That quantity is at 100% among the many hospital’s emergency physicians, mentioned Dr. Nate Kuppermann, director of the emergency division.

Kuppermann mentioned vaccinating the vast majority of workers has modified his means to staff the ER, and that it felt like “this pressure lifted from our shoulders.”

“So before the vaccine came out, on any given day, we would have between 100, 150 employees that were sick with COVID and were calling in sick who were not coming in,” he mentioned. “And now I think it’s single digits. I mean, there’s less than 10.”

It is not only UC Davis’ well being system — throughout the University of California Health System, instances amongst well being staff dropped from 431 per week to 171 per week. With fewer staff out sick, the pressure on well being care employees has dropped too.

Interim Employee Health Services Director Anne Tompkins mentioned the information from UC Davis, and other people’s tales, are “a testament that the vaccine is truly working.”

“We’re gonna be OK,” she mentioned.

As for Whitmer, the nurse has gone from being a vaccine skeptic to an evangelizer — just a few days after she obtained her second dose, Whitmer’s husband, mom, three kids and grandmother all examined optimistic for COVID-19. Only she and her grandfather didn’t — and are the one two within the household who’ve been vaccinated.

“My husband was extremely sick with COVID pneumonia, was here at the emergency department for nine hours. My grandmother spent 25 days in the hospital with COVID pneumonia and is still recovering on oxygen,” mentioned Whitmer. “It’s not fun seeing your family members sick. It’s very scary, being a nurse, watching them get sicker and sicker and whether to go to the hospital, whether to stay home.”

Whitmer mentioned reliving it made her emotional, as a result of she didn’t know if her husband “would be one of the ones that would live or die.

One member of the CBS News group who was capturing video inside UC Davis mentioned it was the calmest, most quiet hospital he has visited in months.

And whereas the staff at there are assured that they’re all protected by the vaccine, they nonetheless mandate masks and social distancing always.

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