Yesterday, West Virginia reported its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). All 50 States now have confirmed cases. The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams recently stated, “We are at a critical inflection point in this country…”. His comment was later followed by, “When you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy.”
Dr. Jerome Adams was referring to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in Italy, which has now overtaken China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths. This morning, an additional 427 deaths in Italy brought the total to 3,405. China has experienced 3,245 coronavirus-related deaths since the virus emerged late last year.
Italy has been the focus and unfortunate ideal target for the coronavirus because the country has the second-oldest population in the world. 23% of Italy’s population is over age 65. Combined with familial living arrangements, Italy’s aging population is vulnerable to children and young family members that may or may not show symptoms. Hospitals, hospital equipment including, life-saving respirators, and hospital staff are overwhelmed.
While demographics in the United States differ from place to place, states like Florida could become virus hotspots primarily due to so many older adults living close together and in retirement homes. According to Andrew Noymer, a demographer at the University of California, Irvine, “Florida is going to be a tough situation, I would predict. There is time with social distancing to flatten the peak.”
Italy can be used as an example to locate areas with aging populations and “anticipate a little bit where the burden of care is going to be the most severe,” stated University of Oxford demographer and epidemiologist Jennifer Beam Dowd.
In addition to recommending social distancing, some states are ordering the cancellation of events and closure of gathering places such as bars, clubs, restaurants, playgrounds, golf courses, activity centers, and public beaches.
On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis said Florida was limiting the number of people gathering on beaches to no more than ten people.
New York City’s 8.4 million residents were told to prepare for a possible “shelter in place” order as Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended plans for drive-through testing centers and to dedicate 8,300 hospital beds for the treatment and isolation of patients infected with the coronavirus. “This will be a race against time to create these facilities, to get them up and running,” de Blasio stated at City Hall on Monday. While a little over 1,000 beds would include opening already closed healthcare facilities, more than 7,000 hospital beds would be made available by building tent hospitals in parking lots.
On the grim milestone of 108 coronavirus-related deaths and 6,300 confirmed cases in the U.S., Vice-President Mike Pence said the White House is in talks with the Pentagon about using field hospitals to expand existing hospitals. Pence stated such units could be deployed very quickly at governor’s requests.
While the leadership at the top levels of government determine how best to handle and dedicate resources, state and local agencies, including hospitals are already preparing for a surge in coronavirus cases by setting up drive-through testing stations and medical shelters equipped with negative pressure isolation systems to test, isolate, and treat patients outside of hospitals.
Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) is restricting visitation across all of its 17 area hospitals, asking residents of New Jersey (and surrounding areas) to call before visiting. Once a visitor is approved, they will be instructed to undergo a temperature screening and provide their contact information. On Tuesday, the Hackensack Meridian Health – JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ, set up a tan medical shelter from BLU-MED Response Systems®. The medical shelter will be used for testing and screening patients. “We are taking these proactive precautions to protect our patients, team members, and the communities we serve,” said Jerry Zuckerman, M.D., vice president, Infection Prevention and Control at HMH.
BLU-MED Response Systems® (BLU-MED) is the world’s leading provider of medical shelter systems and mobile field hospitals. Our medical shelters allow government agencies (of all levels; federal, state, county, city, and local municipality), hospitals, healthcare facilities, emergency management and response agencies, and aid organizations the ability to establish advanced-level care facilities quickly …when and where needed™.
For more information about BLU-MED’s negative pressure isolation system:
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