The Covid-19 pandemic has caused shortages of personal protective equipment, ventilators, blood, and healthcare professionals-now, with the surge in hospital admissions, several southern states are struggling to meet the demand for oxygen.
As the delta variant continues to cause a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations, several hospitals in the South—including Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas—are supplying oxygen Struggling with insufficient supply.
According to CNN, according to state health officials and hospital consultants, hospitals may soon have to rely on reserves for oxygen supply, and some may even face the risk of complete oxygen depletion.
In addition, according to Forbes, some hospitals currently have less than one day of oxygen available for patients, and as Hurricane Ida threatens to send more people to emergency rooms, the shortage may increase.
Donna Cross, senior director of facilities and construction at the healthcare performance improvement company Premier, said that with the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, hospitals cannot meet the demand for oxygen.
“Usually, an oxygen tank will be about 90% full, and the supplier will ask them to refill the remaining 30-40% of the oxygen tank, thus providing them with a three to five-day supply buffer,” Cross said. “What’s happening now is that the hospital’s supply has dropped to about 10-20%, which is one to two days of supply before it can be backfilled,” CNN reported.
In addition, Cross pointed out that even if the hospital performs oxygen backfilling, it is only about 50% of the partial supply. “This is [a] a very critical situation,” she said.
The shortage in Florida is particularly worrying. According to a survey conducted by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA), 68 hospitals in Florida have less than two days of available oxygen. About half of these hospitals have less than 36 hours of available oxygen. Since the beginning of July, the oxygen supply time of 29 hospitals has fallen below 12 hours.
According to WUSF public media reports, more than 17,000 patients in Florida are currently hospitalized due to Covid-19. According to data from federal health officials and Johns Hopkins University, the state’s reported Covid-19 hospitalization rate on Saturday was the highest in the country, with 75 patients per 100,000 residents.
According to Forbes, hospitals in Florida have been deprived of oxygen for several weeks, partly because of the lack of truck drivers to transport supplies.
“It’s really difficult to find a driver,” said Rich Gottwald of the Compressed Gas Association. “Some companies… are rotating drivers from [near areas] in the country to be able to provide services to hospitals in areas that require medical oxygen.”
In addition, FHA President and CEO Mary Mayhew stated that the hospital “is making a frantic call trying to find the driver’s location because they were supposed to deliver the goods. It’s now 10 hours and 12 hours overdue. ”
Axios reports that compared to mechanical ventilation, Covid-19 patients are more likely to survive high-flow nasal oxygen, but this method can use 10 times more liquid oxygen.
However, this liquid oxygen is not only used by hospitals. It is also used to purify water, and cities in Florida require residents to reduce water consumption to protect the current supply of liquid oxygen.
For example, earlier this month, the Orlando Public Utilities Commission asked residents of the Orlando area to save water by shortening shower times and not watering lawns.
Similarly, the City of Winter Park requires its residents to save water by avoiding car washing and using high-pressure washers. The city also asked residents to reduce the frequency of watering their lawns.
Tampa Bay also issued water saving requirements to residents last week, saying they should reduce unnecessary water use. In addition, the city warned residents that if other water purification methods (such as chlorine) must be used instead of liquid oxygen, “the taste and smell of drinking water may change.”
However, according to Forbes, despite the “moderate reduction” in water consumption in Orlando and surrounding areas, officials are still concerned about the supply of liquid oxygen in the area. Currently, only about two weeks of liquid oxygen are available to treat the water supply system that serves more than 1 million people in the area.
Covid-19 has exposed serious shortcomings in the healthcare supply chain. Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other important supplies have hindered the response of the US healthcare system to this crisis, and there may be waves of shortages in the coming months.
Read our content to understand the three requirements for a more resilient and transparent supply chain in the context of Covid-19.
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Post time: Sep-28-2021