Doctors warn that the continued spike in COVID-19 cases will put another serious strain on the health system. Are Hospitals Ready for Another Rise?
BUFFALO, NY – Western New York set a record, and it’s not a good one. This week the region has exceeded the number of daily hospital stays since May.
This week, the number of daily hospital stays in the area peaked at 233, which remains a concern for Mark Poloncarz, executive of Erie County.
On Thursday afternoon, the county executive shared another update on the increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.
“We’ve seen a rapid increase in the last weeks of October, now we’re seeing a rapid increase in hospital stays,” he says.
The more people test positive, the more people need care, no surprise.
The concern then turns to the health system and our local hospitals: are they ready for another surge?
#COVID (this hashtag will likely stay here)
Are you thinking of leaving the house without a mask? 😷
Maybe these numbers convince you differently …
Our healthcare systems and hospitals ALL need our help … look at the numbers!
Are there enough beds? How can they hold out ?! @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/0kXcVxVXqu
– Liz Lewin (@LizLewinTV) November 19, 2020
Dr. Michael Mineo is the Chief Medical Officer of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and says that given the trend in cases, it is no surprise that hospitals are becoming increasingly busier.
“We are prepared for it,” says Dr. Mineo.
Preparation was the decisive factor in how hospitals deal with high case loads in this wave.
“Now we have adequate (personal protective equipment), we have clothes, we have face masks, N95,” he said.
Dr. David Pierce is the vice president and chief medical officer of Buffalo General Hospital, and he says his team is ready as well, although they didn’t necessarily want to be prepared.
“We knew it was going to be. We hoped it wouldn’t, but we prepared for it as if it was coming,” says Dr. Pierce.
Buffalo General has also worked tirelessly to rebuild its hospital system in response to the spring’s first wave of COVID-19, like Suburban and the majority of hospitals in the area.
Due to the intensive planning and preparation, says Dr. Pierce, his team feels a lot safer these days, despite the increasing numbers.
“We have developed a very good rhythm in how we get people to the hospital, take them to safe areas, and take care of them,” he says.
In addition to more PPE, space, beds and preparation, both doctors say that knowledge is power in such situations.
Having access to ongoing research helps hospitals by giving them a feel for what they are dealing with beforehand. According to Dr. Pierce to offer the best possible service.
“We came together very well as a team and I am very proud of the way we implemented the plan,” said Dr. Pierce.
If you experience symptoms similar to COVID, doctors recommend self-isolating and going to a hospital as soon as possible.