Hospitals set up tents to deal with more patients as health officials warn the US government there isn’t enough equipment to deal with a pandemic while hundreds of nurses are trapped in isolation because of the coronavirus testing kit shortage

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
By Paul Martin

US is still facing an active flu season and some hospitals are running at capacity
COVID-19 will add to burden as experts estimate 1 million will contract it in US
In New York, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center said on Monday that they only have a week’s supply of masks on hand
Meanwhile, hospitals are setting up triage tents, calling doctors out of retirement, and canceling elective surgeries as they brace for outbreak
Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

By VALERIE EDWARDS
DAILYMAIL.COM
17 March 2020

Health officials have warned the government that they’re not fully equipped to handle a massive coronavirus outbreak after experts estimated the US could see as many as 1 million cases of COVID-19.

Hospitals are setting up triage tents, calling doctors out of retirement, guarding their supplies of face masks and making plans to cancel elective surgery as they brace for an expected onslaught of coronavirus patients.

Depending on how bad the crisis gets, the sick could find themselves waiting on stretchers in emergency room hallways for hospital beds to open up, or be required to share rooms with other infected patients.

Some doctors fear hospitals could become so overwhelmed that they could be forced to ration medical care.

‘This is going to be a fairly tremendous strain on our health system,’ warned Dr. William Jaquis, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The US is still facing an active flu season, and many hospitals are already running at capacity caring for those patients.

The new virus will only add to that burden, said Dr. Bruce Ribner an infectious-disease specialist at Emory University’s medical school.

According to CNN, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told medical professionals on Monday that there was not enough personal protective equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile to fulfill anticipated gaps in state and local supplies.

‘We have been transparent that more supplies are needed – hence the request to Congress for additional funding so we could procure more and scale up production,’ an HHS spokesperson told CNN.

The government doesn’t yet have a solution for this problem, but is working on one. However, government health authorities are taking emergency steps to waive certain laws and regulations to help hospitals deal with the crisis. Hospitals, too, are getting ready.

In New York, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center said on Monday that they only have a week’s supply of masks on hand.

The shortage is due to production and distribution delays in China, where most personal protective equipment is manufactured.

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