University of Pittsburgh Medical Center doctors helping in areas hardest hit by COVID-19

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Western Pennsylvania hasn’t seen the surge in coronavirus cases that many feared would come at this point.

That’s good news and it’s allowing for resources to be used to help other areas in desperate need, like at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where doctors are helping in New York City.

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“UPMC’s just reached out to help some of our partners in New York City, where they have a deluge of patients in critical care,” said Dr. Don Yealy, UPMC Emergency Medicine Chair.

UPMC is keeping its doctors in Western Pennsylvania to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re in the process of helping ICUs remotely – using “tele-applications.”

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That partnership is expected to begin soon, with a UPMC spokesperson saying they will release more details next week. But that doesn’t mean doctors can’t act on their own.

“Most ER volumes are pretty low right now, at least in the state. But we have been seeing an uptick in the amount of sick COVID patients that require ICU-level care,” said Dr. Shawn Quinn, President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

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The organization is helping recruit available physicians, and he expects some of those in Pennsylvania will soon be making their way to New York City.

One of the models tracking the coronavirus pandemic predicted this would be the week for the biggest strain on local hospital resources. Today, Dr. Yealy said he’s not overly concerned, adding there’s enough personal protective equipment, beds and ventilators if a spike does occur.