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'It's brutal': Parkland Hospital sees sharp rise in COVID-19 admissions

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The sickest patients being admitted Parkland Hospital are those who aren’t vaccinated said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang.

Parkland Hospital in Dallas is seeing an influx of COVID-19 patients as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads.

Parkland Hospital's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang says the latest surge in COVID-19 cases is unlike any the staff have seen so far.

“It's brutal, in a word," Chang said. "This last week, we've seen our active cases go from about 30, to now well over 100 active cases in house."

Chang said many COVID-19 patients coming in are infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus. While omicron’s symptoms appear to be less severe than those caused by the delta variant, the risk of transmission remains high.

Chang recommends getting vaccinated and boosted as soon as you're eligible to slow the spread and to prevent severe symptoms if you are infected. He says the sickest patients being admitted into the hospital are those who aren’t vaccinated.

“It's just more evidence to the pile of evidence that says that being vaccinated is your best way to go,” he said.

Chang says Parkland Hospital staff is struggling with burnout as the pandemic continues.

“This is like Groundhog Day,” he said. “It's like never, never ending sort of COVID. Now, getting close to two years of the first cases here in North Texas, [it] is astonishing that we haven't been able to sort of get out from under this cloud.”

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Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter for KUT. She also served as a legislative fellow for The Texas Newsroom during the 2021 legislative session.