Hundreds of Harvard Medical School students have volunteered to help at Massachusetts General Hospital and other major hospitals in the Boston area. The COVID-19 virus medical student response team split up into four committees focused on everything from educating the public to supporting vulnerable populations.
As hospitals prepare for the worst-case scenario, one Michigan hospital system detailed who would get priority over life-saving resources. The letter, which stated that “patients who have the best chance of getting better” are to be prioritized, is part of Henry Ford Health System’s larger emergency response plan.
Minnesota hospitals are working together to make sure patients go to centers with free beds and they’re going to divy up supplies as needed. Leaders at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis are thinking ahead on what to do if all the ventilators are in use. Dr. John Hick, a physician at the hospital, told Star Tribune they could use the ventilator equipment from ambulances or adapt anesthesia devices.
University of Mississippi Medical Center made its own COVID-19 test to ramp up diagnostics in the state. They’ve also stockpiled protective equipment, reduced the number of people coming into the hospital for nonessential procedures, and rolled out a smartphone app that lets health care workers remotely treat COVID-19 patients if they do not need hospitalization.
Hospitals in Kansas City are trying to make their existing supplies last longer. Dr. Dana Hawkinson, a University of Kansas Health System infectious disease specialist, told reporters at a press briefing that they’re looking into how they can reuse the N-95 face masks, which purify air particles, while they wait for supplies to arrive.
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The Nebraska Medical Center, which successfully dealt with Ebola cases in 2014, has been preparing for months. They’ve put off elective procedures, moved patients to different parts of the campus, and retrained staff on how to care for COVID-19 patients. They’re also finding clever ways to make supplies last longer, such as using ultraviolet light to decontaminate N95 masks and make them reusable.
Hospitals in Nevada, such as Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas and The VA Southern Nevada Health Care System, are screening all patients before they come into the hospital to lower the risk of transmission. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is also allowing retired doctors and nurses to go back to work and any health care workers from out of state to help.
In three New Hampshire hospitals, staff must wear a mask at all times if they work in patient care areas. The decision by the Hospital Corporation of America was made based on new evidence that suggests the coronavirus can be spread even if the person is not showing symptoms.
New Jersey is working quickly to increase hospital capacity to deal with the onslaught of COVID-19 patients. There are plans for field hospitals to be erected within the coming week and more later this month, as well as plans to reopen hospitals to help accommodate the demand for beds. To cover staffing needs the state has said they may recruit nursing students in their final semester and new rules passed mean that ventilators can be used on multiple patients at a time.
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