When Tammy Gimbel called to check on her 86-year-old father two weeks ago, he sounded weak. He was rushed to Sanford Medical Center in North Dakota’s capital, where doctors said he had the coronavirus. But all the hospital beds in Bismarck were full, his relatives were told, and the only options were to send him to a hospital hours away in Fargo, or to release him to be monitored by his daughter, who was herself sick with the virus.
Ms. Gimbel and her father hunkered down in a 40-foot camping trailer in her backyard to try to recover. He only got worse.
“There I sat in my camper, watching my dad shake profusely, have a 102 temperature with an oxygen level of 86,” Ms. Gimbel recalled. “I am sicker than I had been the whole time, and I wanted to cry. What was I going to do? Was I going to watch my dad die?”
As President Trump returned from the hospital, still telling Americans not to be afraid of Covid-19, the coronavirus has exploded in North Dakota. In the past week, North Dakota reported more new cases per capita than any other state. Hospitalizations for the virus have risen abruptly, forcing health care officials in some towns to send people to faraway hospitals, even across state lines to Montana and South Dakota.
When Tammy Gimbel’s father was taken to a South Dakota hospital two weeks ago, he was told all the hospitals in town were full. He and Ms. Gimbel, who both had the coronavirus, hunkered down in her trailer to try to recover. He only got worse. https://t.co/ULibwkDubn
— NYT Science (@NYTScience) October 8, 2020