Pennsylvania hospitals could be dealing with a surge of coronavirus cases as soon as this weekend.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths related to it continues to grow by the day. Now, some new models show a spike in cases statewide could be coming very soon. It's something hospital systems like UPMC say they're prepared for.”
In the coming days, Empty hospital beds could be critical in western Pennsylvania’s fight against the coronavirus.
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One of the models regularly examined by the state health department and UPMC is from the University of Washington, which collects data nationwide to help hospital systems and states prepare for a surge in cases.
“Our job is how do you integrate that in? We look at the range of possibilities. I prepare for the worst, but I hope for better,” said Dr. Don Yealy, the UPMC Emergency Medicine Chair.
The model predicts Saturday will be the peak of the strain on Pennsylvania hospitals, with more coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization.
There isn't expected to be a shortage of hospital or ICU beds, but the model predicts 267 ventilators would be needed.
It led the state Department of Health to begin tracking how many ventilators are available at any given time.
“We have discovered there are actually more ventilators than we initially anticipated which is a really good thing. We do have a stock pile of ventilators for the Department of Health and we have purchased ventilators,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
Yealy said they are very well prepared for a possible surge in serious coronavirus cases, even if it comes in a matter of days.
“We began thinking and planning for this back in January and we have lots of capacity that was present then, plus even more for both ICU beds and ventilator use,” Yealy said.
The modeling from the University of Washington assumes full social distancing in Pennsylvania through May, which is why health officials are warning people to stay home and if you do need to go out, make sure you’re wearing a mask.
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