ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Like a "nuclear incident" - that's how a local doctor is describing his time in ICUs across the region, as he sees deaths back-to-back among COVID-19 patients. 

Early Sunday morning, Dr. Steven Brown went to Twitter saying "In 40 years, I have not encountered so much death in 12 hours, as last night. I imagine this is what a nuclear incident would feel like."

Brown - who is a virtual care doctor at Mercy Hospital - said he went to Twitter after a grueling shift in the ICU. He couldn't give News 4 specifics but said he lost more than four patients just overnight because of COVID-19.

Brown has been treating patients in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas for the last year and a half. Brown said the rural communities in all three of those states are getting hit the hardest.

He says there's minimal ICU beds, lack of oxygen, ventilators, nurses, and even lack of doctors. He said he's seeing younger and younger patients coming in  every day and more than 90% of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated.

"I had four deaths between 7 o'clock and 10 o'clock last night and they kept coming," Brown said. "And then several people came in, I was pretty sure were not gonna make it. Even after I left at 7 in the morning and I just checked the roster and they're gone."

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 91% of ICU beds in the St. Louis region are taken, leaving only 9% unoccupied. This is the smallest percentage of ICU beds left available in the St. Louis region since the pandemic began.

In all, the St. Louis region has 1,151 ICU beds and 1,046 of them are full with both COVID and non-COVID patients, leaving 105 beds available. Of those 1,046 total ICU patients, 190 of them have COVID-19, accounting for 18% of the total. 

As of Sept. 2, a total of 2,140 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across Missouri, 600 of them are in ICUs. The St. Louis region accounts for the most patients at 811 hospitalizations with 190 in ICUs. 

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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