Editorial: Doctor knows best

Reiterating Enloe’s call to action on vaccines

Dr. Marcia Nelson

“I want you to know that vaccines are our only way out of this pandemic.”

Those were the words of Enloe Medical Center’s chief medical officer, Dr. Marcia Nelson, in a video posted on the hospital’s social media feed last week. Her plea to the community to get vaccinated comes amid a massive surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, an increase that has forced the facility to open a third intensive care unit.

Nelson was calm but direct, her message relaying the urgency of the crisis. Twenty percent of all hospitalizations are for COVID, the vast majority of them attributed to the highly contagious delta variant. That strain is killing “too many of our older family members,” the doctor lamented. Then she said that a baby was recently admitted.

Nelson issued a dire warning: A few weeks back—due to the COVID spike, a large number of other admissions and staffing shortages—the hospital nearly had to turn away trauma patients. Such a scenario is a very real possibility, should COVID cases overburden the facility.

Enloe is now sharing hospitalization data directly with the public, and we commend the facility for doing so. It’s something other health care providers around the nation have taken to in recent months to convey the seriousness the situation. As of deadline, there were 63 people with COVID at Enloe. Of the six in the ICU, including three on a ventilator, all were unvaccinated.

As Nelson pointed out, more than half of eligible Butte County residents remain unvaccinated. She stressed that the vaccines are safe—that Pfizer’s earned FDA approval last week—and that they are effective. Those who get the shot may still get COVID, but they generally don’t get as ill, meaning they typically don’t end up in the ICU. Most important, they rarely die.

When it comes to helping the community by keeping its hospital functioning, Nelson put it best: “Please get vaccinated. Please wear your mask. Please help us help you.”

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Editor:
    I appears that true “meat-on-the-bones” subject matter is noticeably absent from your “Accountability” editorial, September 2nd. Let me begin by informing you that we lost everything-that’s EVERYTHING-in the Camp Fire. We were among the last to leave Paradise at 11:40am. What was not claimed by flames or smoke, we were grateful to keep. We lost no friends or neighbors. And you nit-pick over the number of deaths resulting from the fire. According to AP, the official Camp Fire death toll is 86. You can take the SJMN to task and grouse over your outrage that they got the number wrong. So be it. That’s the thrust of your September 2nd squawk. Now, nearly three years hence, California continues to burn down. The Dixie Fire and the Caldor Fire combine for over 1,000,000 acres burned, with historic towns wiped out. Two other massive fires in the Trinity National Forest account for hundreds-of-thousands of acres of torched land, watershed destruction and death to wildlife. If you must grouse about anything related to the fire crisis in our once-Golden State, begin by reminding yourself the last two governors could have reduced the impact fires with prudent steps to clean up and maintain our forests.
    Then, reflect on those who lost their livelihoods and lives. Doing so will prevent you from further nit-picking.

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