Doctors and nurses are increasingly worried they will become the spreaders of the coronavirus rather than the healers…
And that hospitals themselves become the new hot spots for the pandemic.
This is already the case in Italy and France, where doctors have found hospitals overloaded by coronavirus patients have become transmission points and are becoming vectors for the disease.
Meanwhile in the US, the number of health care workers ordered to self-quarantine has skyrocketed in the last few days:
- In Vacaville, California, alone, one case left more than 200 hospital workers under quarantine and unable to work for weeks.
- Dozens more Californian health care workers have been ordered to stay at home because of possible contagion in response to more than 80 confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon.
- In Kirkland, Washington, more than a quarter of the city’s fire department was quarantined after exposure to a handful of infected patients at the Life Care Center nursing home.
- In Washington state, the virus had been “blossoming” undetected in some hospitals for weeks, according to a physician with CHI Franciscan’s network of hospitals there.
- And I am sure that those numbers are also exponentially increasing in New York, the new epicenter of the US crisis.
Several American health workers have already died after contracting the virus.
But it’s just not sustainable to think that every time a health care worker is exposed they have to be quarantined for 14 days. We’d run out of health care workers! And that’s exactly where we are going!
Essential gear protecting providers is woefully inadequate and could remain so in some areas for weeks.
Because of a widespread lack of testing, frontline workers said they are treating patients without knowing if they’re infected.
And that the coronavirus could spread not just to doctors and nurses, but security and cleaning staff as well.
Here some examples of the crazyness going on in the US hospitals right now:
- In a suburb of Washington, D.C., one major health system isn’t sending sick staff home, even when their symptoms indicate a possible coronavirus infection.
- A nurse in this same hospital took vacation time to self-quarantine after getting symptoms. She’s still waiting for test results she had to drive to another Virginia county to get.
- In hard-hit New York City, a critical care nurse reported that a sick hospital clinician has exposed a long-term patient to the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, physicians in Italy are encouraging mobile clinics and even moving ventilators into patients’ homes to reduce transmission in hospitals:
“We are learning that hospitals might be the main COVID-19 carriers, as they are rapidly populated by infected patients, facilitating transmission to uninfected patient.“