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Scripps Health Sees Record COVID-19 Daily Deaths, Nearly All Unvaccinated

Inside the Intensive Care Unit of a Scripps hospital in this undated photo.

Credit: Scripps Health

Above: Inside the Intensive Care Unit of a Scripps hospital in this undated photo.

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One of the region's largest health care providers is reporting a single-day COVID-19 death record, nearly all among people who were unvaccinated.

Aired: September 8, 2021 |

One of the region's largest health care providers is reporting a single-day COVID-19 death record, nearly all among people who were unvaccinated.

"From last Thursday until (Tuesday) morning we’ve had 21 deaths — the highest was on Saturday with 6 deaths," said Scripps Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ghazala Sharieff. "That is just, I can’t even describe what that feels like knowing that these are all preventable deaths. 92% of our patients are unvaccinated and we didn’t have to be here again."

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

From Aug. 1 to Sept 7, there were 70 COVID-19 deaths at Scripps and 67 were those unvaccinated.

As of Tuesday, the hospital system is seeing 162 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, with 51 in the intensive care unit (ICU), Sharieff said.

"We only have seven staffed intensive care unit beds (available) so forget COVID for a minute — if you have a car accident or a heart attack — we have seven beds that are staffed in the ICU and it’s not just Scripps it’s across the system," she said.

RELATED: San Diego County Reports 519 New COVID-19 Cases, Fewest Since July

Scripps is also at capacity with life-saving heart-lung bypass machines and Sharieff said they are dealing with staffing shortages.

"Some people don't want to be in health care anymore — they had enough — we did this pandemic once why do it again?" she said. "And people are getting tired, they don't want to pick up extra shifts like they did before."

Reported by Matt Hoffman

She said it is even difficult to find travel nurses who are willing to work right now. Sharieff is hoping not to see an increase in patients from the holiday weekend.

"We just had the Labor Day weekend and I saw a lot of people out there without their masks," she said. "Hospitalizations start usually two weeks later and then a week after that we get more intensive care unit admissions."

Scripps is seeing some breakthrough infections, which are from people who are fully vaccinated. A spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon two more people had died, bringing the total since Thursday to 23 lives lost. Of the recent deaths, many had underlying medical conditions with ages ranging from 50 to 99 years old.

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Matt Hoffman
Health Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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