News and Commentary

Americans Turned Away From Hospital As Afghan Refugees Take Priority

"Good news is they’re taking [vaccines] at a higher rate than Virginians,” Sen. Warner says.

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An influx of refugees is straining Northern Virginia to the point that native-born Americans are being turned away from a local hospital.

“A hospital near the Dulles Expo Center that federal officials designated as a go-to spot for medical treatment began running out of available beds, forcing the hospital to turn away non-Afghan patients who weren’t in need of critical care,” The Washington Post reported.

The hospital is treating Afghans who have been transported by the planeload to Dulles Airport outside D.C. following the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban control of the country.

The Post cited Kristin Nickerson, executive director of the Northern Virginia Emergency Response System, a small board which she said is not set up or prepared to take care of refugees, but which has had to fill a gap.

The tracking of refugees in hospitals has been so disorganized that a one-month-old infant was temporarily lost, and the situation was so “terrible” that it added to the “trauma” of refugees who were beaten by the Taliban, Nickerson said.

Area leaders are asking the Biden administration to shoulder some of the burden placed on the community, to little avail.

Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill told the Post “It’s been very difficult to even get with the federal government on what the next steps are.” The county has spent at least $300,000 tracking and transporting Afghans to hospitals.

“To meet the current need, we are leveraging what little resources we have to augment the existing team at the moment, but this is not sustainable with only a staff of 12,” local leaders wrote to Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources August 28.

Despite the existing load already straining the system, J. Stephen Jones, a hospital executive, told The Post that several dozen more planes full of Afghans are scheduled to arrive at Dulles airport this week.

Many of the refugees are staying at military compounds, including the Marine Corps base in Quantico.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said in a statement that he “will continue to do everything he can to ensure that Virginia’s hospitals — many of which are already strained with covid-19 patients — have the resources they need to care for our communities.”

Two weeks ago, Warner compared the Afghans favorably to Americans, saying they agreed to take coronavirus vaccines at a higher rate.

“They’re going to be offered vaccines,” Warner said. “Good news is they’re taking them at a higher rate than Virginians,” he said, according to NBC-12.

Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey are also set up to temporarily house about 50,000 refugees.

Last week, liberals were in an uproar when Rolling Stone reported that people, including gunshot victims, were being turned away from an Oklahoma hospital because it was burdened by people who had taken ivermectin to treat coronavirus. That story turned out to be false.

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