Intensive care units dedicated solely to COVID-19 patients are beginning to shut down as the number of critical coronavirus patients start to dwindle — or, in some cases, go away entirely.
What are the details?
Several U.S. hospitals in recent days have announced the closure of COVID-19 ICU's, celebrating with a cautious optimism over the moves.
On Tuesday, Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, declared that all of its tactical care units (TCUs) dedicated to treating coronavirus patients have been closed, due to lack of patients needing the specialized care.
KDFW-TV noted that "at one point in the pandemic, all of its flex units were opened and full and the hospital was treating hundreds of patients at one time."
Last week, Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, announced in a Facebook post that its COVID unit was "officially CLOSED" as of March 12, calling the development "an exciting milestone."
The Associated Press reported that "as cases have declined in the Ozark region, CoxHealth in Springfield [Missouri] was also able to close a COVID-19 ICU that had been added over the summer."
Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri, decommissioned its COVID-19 unit on March 16, after it "sat empty for the first time since its inception on July 16, 2020," The Joplin Globe reported.
"It's been a crazy ride for sure," chief nursing officer Jeanee Kennedy of Freeman Health System told the newspaper, "but we're happy to see the numbers moving in the right direction and glad to see our community needs shifting away from COVID."
Chief clinical officer for Freeman, Jeff Thompson, added, "We certainly hope this is a permanent move."
According to data from Worldometers.info, active coronavirus cases in the U.S. peaked early this year and have been on a steady decline for weeks.
But the U.S. is not out of the dark on COVID-19, yet. Despite millions being vaccinated by the day, new cases of the virus (and deaths from it) continue.
The New York Times reported that "much of the country continues to report low case totals, including in the West and South, noting that "California is adding around 2,600 cases a day, down from more than 40,000 in early January."
On Thursday, Johns Hopkins University's data showed the U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 30 million cases in total after more than a year since it hit our shores, with deaths reaching more than 525,000, KOKI-TV reported.