Colorado hospitals are more ready for COVID-19 than in March, but influenza creates uncertainty – Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado 2020-10-18 08:00:03 –

Colorado hospitals have some advantages that this spring did not have, even if the third wave of COVID-19 cases continues to grow. But it’s no one’s guess what would happen if the flu happened at the same time.

As of Friday, 352 people were hospitalized with the new coronavirus. This is the total since May 27, but less than half the number of people hospitalized on the peak days of the early waves of the April pandemic.

Dr. Heather Young, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Management at Denver Health, said he was treating about 20 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday morning. At the highest score, there were about 70 patients with coronavirus in the hospital, and at the lowest score, less than 10. The Commission meets at least weekly to assess case trends across Denver and the state and warns about the number. She said the number of patients may change next week or two weeks.

“As the community grows, we will see more hospitalizations,” she said.

Presvitrian / St. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Reginald Washington, Luke Hospital and Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital said they saw a similar pattern. HealthOne hospitals throughout the Denver region had 53 coronavirus patients on Thursday. This is an increase, but still less than half the normal day in April.

Throughout Colorado, an average of 78% of intensive care unit beds and 79% of emergency beds were used in the seven days leading up to Thursday. Dr. Darlene Taddy, vice president of clinical practice at the Colorado Hospital Association, said it does not put the hospital at the limit, but to decide whether to open additional beds or cancel non-urgent procedures. I’m watching.

“It’s a signal for us to pay attention,” she said.

The effects of influenza are still unknown

Representatives from multiple hospitals and health systems emphasized that everyone over 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu and continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the respiratory virus. Last year, about 3,500 people were hospitalized in Colorado for influenza complications between October and May, and most activity declined between December and February.

Washington said there were few reports of cases in which patients had both viruses at the same time, but those patients were more ill and took longer to recover than those who had only one virus. .. He also said that if the patient may have either or both of the viruses, it will take time to determine the appropriate treatment.

Dr. Michel Baron, UC Health’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention, said hospitals can usually see what the flu season will look like by looking to Australia, where the winter flu season is the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. I will.

Australians have had a mild flu season this year, but that doesn’t necessarily happen in the United States as Australia has closed many businesses and banned rallies to contain the new coronavirus.

“You plan and plan the worst you can think of and fix it based on what happens,” she said.

Building stockpile

According to Baron, unlike spring, hospitals had time to stockpile supplies and plan scenarios that could occur this winter. To do this, consider a stockpile, a unit that can accommodate COVID-19 patients in the event of a lack of space, and how to deal with staff having to stay home with a sick child. It involves making a decision.

In the spring, hospitals, elderly housing with care and other facilities needed more protective equipment than usual, and the virus temporarily closed factories in China and elsewhere, nearly disrupting the supply chain. Dr. Andrew French, Chief Medical Officer at St. Anthony North Health Campus, said the supply chain is still not as smooth as it was before the pandemic, but the relatively mild summers of Colorado allow hospitals to rebuild their stockpiles. Did.

According to the French, St. Anthony’s parent company, Centura, has begun manufacturing its own gowns for employees to wear scrubs in the COVID-19 room. Denver Health has switched to reusable gowns and respirators to reduce the need for large numbers of disposable devices. Other hospitals reported that they had at least a month’s worth of masks and other equipment in stock.

According to Tad-y, a shortage of ventilators is no longer a major concern, as fewer patients need ventilators than originally thought. The bigger problem, she said, was to ensure that staff and supplies reach the hotspot.

Prepare for possible surges

Kevin Stansbury, CEO of Hugo’s Lincoln Community Hospital, said he is rethinking plans, including how to transfer patients to and from Front Range Hospital, as well as build stockpiles. It was.

In the spring, Lincoln Community Hospital participated in a program that allowed overpopulated hospitals to send patients who no longer needed intensive care to Hugo. According to Stansbury, several patients from Greeley and Denver have freed up space in these hospitals and continued to recover until they were able to return home. He said they were making sure they were ready to take those patients back if the need arises.

So far, hospitals do not have enough patients to require the overflow space prepared in the spring. The French said it wouldn’t be difficult to convert the space again if needed, as they went through the process in March and April. For example, with some equipment changes, he said, a unit that monitors trouble when people get out of anesthesia can treat patients with COVID-19.

“We are always really ready,” he said.

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