San Antonio hospitals filling up fast amid COVID-19 surge, says infectious disease doctor

Dr. Ruth Berggren, with UT Health San Antonio, says COVID-19 hospitalizations are doubling every 10 days

SAN ANTONIO – Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease expert with UT Health San Antonio, says local hospitals are full amid an influx of COVID-19 patients.

She’s urging people not to go to emergency rooms or hospitals unless they are extremely sick and should instead seek urgent care clinics for less severe emergencies.

“The hospitals are full, and we’re not even halfway to the peak of our surge yet. And we’re seeing a doubling of the hospitalization rate every 10 days,” Berggren said.

The doctor explained on the KSAT Q&A Thursday that the doubling rate of cases every 10 days has been happening since the middle of July. She added that the emergency medicine department director said that they’re seeing record-breaking numbers of people in hospitals right now.

Berggren believes the steep incline of COVID-19 hospitalizations now is more significant than in November. She said over the last four weeks, 5% of COVID-19 hospitalizations have been from vaccinated people. The rest are those who still can’t be vaccinated or have chosen not to get a vaccine.

Berggren is strongly encouraging everyone to mask up, regardless of vaccination status.

“That is everyone’s recommendation up and down the line -- to wear a mask when you’re in any kind of a public place, whether you’re vaccinated or if you’re unvaccinated,” she said.

Berggren said the Delta variant data has shown that even vaccinated people can spread the virus. However, she stressed the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“In San Antonio, we have zero deaths in the vaccinated population. So we are seeing 100% protection against dying if you were vaccinated. That sounds pretty good to me,” she said.

Berggren added that by getting vaccinated, people protect themselves and others around them, especially young children who aren’t eligible yet and are about to start learning again in person.

About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

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