“Given the severe national shortage of nurses, and the resources required to care for patients with COVID-19, it is highly likely the public can expect extended waiting times in our Emergency Departments,” Levine‘s statement read. “Patients will be triaged and provided a medical screening exam immediately upon arrival, and those with severe or life threatening emergencies will be prioritized and we will take care of you. Anyone triaged at a lower level acuity may be informed of a longer wait. In a press briefing on Wednesday, Ballad officials said they currently had capacity to care for about 75 COVID-19 patients before they’d have to make adjustments, adjustments Levine said Friday they were preparing for. Ballad’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton said adjustments could include designating hospitals specifically for coronavirus patients, standing up larger COVID-dedicated units systemwide again or, in a worst-case scenario, once again suspending elective surgeries — a measure that has become increasingly more likely as hospitalizations rise. “We will provide you with other options within the system where wait times may be shorter at that moment,” Levine said. “I know this will be frustrating for many, and we deeply regret that.”
Niswonger‘s Chief Medical Officer, in an interview with the Press on Thursday, expressed concern about a surge in infections among children as many school systems prepare to return to session this week. “Concerned does not begin to describe my current state,” she wrote.
“Going into this winter with the staffing we have and the virology we’re seeing makes me very concerned as a doctor and as a medical executive about how we’re going to do once school starts,” she said. On Twitter, Carter said she was already working on a pediatric surge plan.
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