This Saskatoon hospital is an ideal microcosm for the coronavirus escalating

Now there are three.

He still doesn’t have it.

Back then, ICU nurse Tanna Ingraham was battling the disease herself after getting it from a patient, she thinks.

She recovered, but got it back. “It’s like hell and back,” she says of 2020.

This hospital is a perfect microcosm for the disease escalating – even as vaccines roll out across the country.

“The next six weeks will be the darkest weeks in modern American medical history,” says Varon. “We’re right about Christmas if people aren’t listening.”

Cases explode across Texas. The seven-day average of positive cases is at a record level – according to Johns Hopkins University, an average of over 16,000 new cases per day. This average is up 15% from last week.

Lone Star State is staggering

Approximately 40% of Covid-19 patients in the hospital are from other parts of the state affected by the pandemic.

Walter Cuellar was transferred from West Texas about 500 miles away. He believes he and his wife discovered the virus in the supermarket. She had mild symptoms. Today he is on the mend, but when he arrived he was almost put on a ventilator.

“There are a lot of people where I live who don’t wear the mask,” he says. “There have been many times that I would go to the store with my wife and she and I were the only ones wearing a mask and other people didn’t wear a mask at all.”

Bri Smith works with overseas exchange students and recently moved to Columbus, about 73 miles west of Saskatoon. The wife, mother of three, also believes she caught the virus while shopping.

Dr.  Joseph Varon speaks to a patient in the intensive care unit during Thanksgiving.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever felt in my life,” says Smith. “The pain and the pain.”

Varon says patients are now getting sick after waiting longer for medical care.

“Our average patient spent about 20 days with symptoms before they came to us,” he says. In the past few months, the hospital has used various means of treating the disease.

Richard Gonzales thought he could do it, so he resisted hospitalization for a week. He works two jobs, has a wife and five children, and isn’t sure how he got the virus.

“I kind of screwed it up because these symptoms that I got when I got them I should have gone to the hospital or the emergency room right away, but I didn’t. I lay in bed thinking it was going to go away. “

“It’s like we’ve been forgotten.”

For Varon and the employees, frustrations continue to grow.

“Even if I give them holy water, it will be difficult for them to get better,” says Varon.

Intensive Care Nurse Tanna Ingraham when she was under treatment.

Varon – who has been labeled a “Covid hunter” and has a license plate that says the same thing – was the first to receive the Moderna vaccine on Monday to reassure employees and the largely minority that the vaccine is safe.

Dr. John Okereke, director of the ambulance service, was also vaccinated. He’s black and says it’s important for minorities to seek treatment and take the vaccine when it’s available.

Okereke says the doctors are “excited” about the vaccinations.

“When you watch TV, you really don’t know what the doctors are going through,” he says. “They have no idea what we’re going through. Sometimes we’re really scared of getting the disease.”

The vaccines couldn’t come at a better time. According to the COVID Tracking Project, hospital admissions of 10,000 patients continued to rise across the state on Monday – a level not seen since July.

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According to Johns Hopkins, Texas has recorded a total of 113,049 new Covid-19 cases in the past seven days. This is the second highest state after California.

Ingraham the nurse says she is stressed from the ongoing battle with the disease and she has a message about the toll she and others have taken in the hospital.

“It’s like we don’t exist,” she says. “You realize that we are still here to take care of these people who are endangering my life, my child’s life, my mother’s life.

“I literally feel forgotten.”

CNN’s Haley Brink contributed to this report.

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