The second COVID wave is here. Are hospitals ready?

Almost eight months after the first devastating wave of COVID infections, Michigan medical providers have learned a lot. But are they ready for what's coming?

When the first cases of COVID-19 rolled into the state in March, hospitals were ill-prepared to deal with the onslaught of patients that followed. Patients were forced to wait in crowded hallways to be seen. Doctors and nurses had to reuse masks, gloves, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that were in short supply.

Eight months later and we’ve entered into the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Are we any more prepared?

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

In many ways we are, according to an article published on Government Technology magazine.

Protective Equipment. “Hospitals have increased their PPE inventories with a goal of having a 90-day supply of five main PPE items to account for a second surge,” said John Karasinski, a spokesperson for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. “Hospitals also better understand the rate at which PPE is consumed and what daily needs look like.”

Though the numbers are better overall, not all areas of the state are equally prepared.

According to numbers collected by the state, both of Kalamazoo County’s hospitals have dwindling supplies of surgical masks. Bronson Health System reports less than a week’s worth of gloves and Ascension Borgess has less than a two-week supply of surgical gowns.

a chart showing counts of personal protective equipment at various hospitals
The state tracks PPE supplies at major medical providers around the state.

Staffing is also an issue. As nurses and other medical workers get sick or burned out, existing staff may become stretched thin.

“Many existing front-line workers are also still recovering from physical and mental stress, as well as trauma resulting from the first wave,” said Karasinski.

You can read the full story here.

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.