Amid COVID Upswing, El Paso Doctor Says ICU Is ‘Surreal’ And ‘Strange’

A nurse conducts a coronavirus test at a newly opened mega drive-through site at El Paso Community College Valle Verde school on July 21 in El Paso, Texas.

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A nurse carries out a coronavirus test at a recently opened mega drive-through website at El Paso Community College Valle Verde school on July 21 in El Paso, Texas.

Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

” Were utilized to being in the ICU,” he continued. “But having this many clients in the ICU, paralyzed and vulnerable, and really knowing that theres a great deal of them that over the course of time are going to be contributed to that human catastrophe count is really upsetting.”

Dr. Ogechika Alozie, primary medical officer of the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, told NPRs Morning Edition that as you stroll through the ICU “it hits you just how surreal and how unusual this is.”

In his statement buying the curfew, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego stated that there has been a 160% boost in favorable rate and 300% boost in hospitalizations in the last 3 weeks.

This week, Texas has seen approximately 6,122 brand-new cases daily, up from 4,149 just two weeks earlier. Given that the beginning of the pandemic, a minimum of 911,835 people in the state have tested favorable and 18,162 people have died from the infection, making Texas the state with the most COVID-19 deaths in the country.

In excerpts from his interview, Alozie, who is likewise co-chair of the El Paso COVID-19 job force, talks about the surge in cases, the patients who are struggling and what the local reaction has been.

” A great deal of people just assume that when you stroll into an ICU, that itll be loud and the stress,” Alozie said. “But the nurses and the physicians and the teams are simply setting about their service.”

A remarkable growth in COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in El Paso, Texas, has led officials to ask residents to stay at home for 2 weeks and to impose a necessary countywide curfew.

Exists a client or a particular story that stands apart to you in current days that you simply cant leave your mind?

At the end of the day … politics and policy are not going to conserve a neighborhood.

It sounds like you saw this coming– the potential of a 2nd spike– but didnt think it would occur this early in the year. Why do you think were seeing this spike now?

There is a curfew now. People are being told to remain home for the next couple of weeks. What is your guidance to locals of your neighborhood in the coming days and weeks?

Lisa Weiner, Dalia Mortada and Ziad Buchh produced and edited the audio version of this story. Christianna Silva adapted for the Web.

From an [epidemiological] viewpoint, transmittable illness standpoint, comprehending the characteristics of the infection, it was constantly expected that the fall would be a bothersome time. I think for our community, it sort of caught us by surprise. We had coped the July, August period. We had actually gone down. We had positivity rates as low as 4.5% early in September, and the city was actually rejoicing over that. And I believe what happened is that as a neighborhood, we let down our guard. And whether parts of it is Juárez, [Mexico], which is our next-door neighbor sis city, is experiencing the exact same spike, and traffic to Juárez is just down about 25% to 30% year over year. I think multigenerational homes that we have, a great deal of household events, and if you look sort of internationally at the population dynamics for El Paso, among our zip codes, 79938, is in fact one of the most populated zip codes in America. And that layer on top, simply a city that has some health care, co-morbid conditions, particularly diabetes, that simply make combating coronavirus difficult.

I believe for our community, it sort of captured us by surprise. And I believe what occurred is that as a neighborhood, we let down our guard. I think multigenerational homes that we have, a lot of household events, and if you look sort of globally at the population dynamics for El Paso, one of our zip codes, 79938, is really one of the most populous zip codes in America. What is your guidance to locals of your community in the coming days and weeks?

The one that haunts me the most, I think, is something that, for us, took place over the weekend. Among the nurses was trying to get a patient settled and informed me as she was breaking down– because the toll is a lot– about this 50-year-old gentleman that had can be found in, had actually been taken part in a household event and was now in our ICU struggling for breath. And before they intubated him, he said, “Hey, can I have a cup of Sprite?” And they were giving him the Sprite, knowing that this extremely well could be his last cup of Sprite that hell ever have due to the fact that he was truly sick. And so I think for me, thats been the one that had actually punched me in the gut the most.

We as a neighborhood are going to need to find a way to get through this. At the end of the day … politics and policy are not going to save a neighborhood. The people in the neighborhood have to do the due diligence and really take care of themselves and their households to get through this.