Local hospital systems prepare for increase in COVID-19 cases after holiday season


DELMARVA – With Christmas and New Years just around the corner, local hospitals say they’re working to make sure they’re prepared for any potential surge in COVID-19 patients. At TidalHealth, Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Arnett says they saw a spike around Thanksgiving. That includes working different staffing models if necessary, and organizing patient placement. “We kind of expect to see a surge any time there is an opportunity for people to gather together outside of their normal day to day discussions with their families,” said Arnett.

Arnett says that looking back over the course of the pandemic is helping them stay prepared, like being better able to predict how long patients will stay for treatment, and adjusting how the hospital cares for them during their recovery. “We are actually seeing patients who aren’t requiring ventilators this time. When we were expecting our surges back in the spring we were being told and we did see a significant need for more ventilator support,” said Arnett.

At Atlantic General Hospital, CEO Michael Franklin says they’re also getting ready for any spike in patients. Franklin says January and February are typically a busy time of year for the hospital because of the flu and pneumonia. But of course this year that preparation includes the COVID-19 pandemic. “We layer some COVID on top of some of those other things, that gives us more concern than what we’ve had in the prior surges,” said Franklin.

Franklin says the good news is that he thinks their monoclonal antibody therapy could help people in the early stages of COVID-19 stay out of the hospital all together. “The hope is that will keep their symptoms from continuing and from them having to come into the hospital,” said Franklin.

Franklin adds that AGH is working with the nearby Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to create a satellite nursing unit. He also says that he’s hopeful they’ll have all staff vaccinated against COVID-19 by the new year. “Then we can prevent them from contracting the virus and spreading the virus,” said Franklin.

Meanwhile in Delaware, Dr. Bill Chasanov at Beebe Healthcare says they’re ready to receive more COVID-19 patients as well. He says they’ve been closely tracking the rise in cases in the first state.  “We expect that number to probably continue to rise just because that trend does not appear to have reversed and started to decline yet,” said Dr. Chasanov.

But Dr. Chasanov says people should also plan ahead, and consider the risk of the flu after the holiday season on top of COVID-19. He says folks should get a flu vaccination if they can. “We are not seeing a lot of flu in Delaware right now. We normally seem to see flu cases rise after the holidays. It generally takes a week or two for the flu vaccine to take effect,” said Dr. Chasanov.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Health, Local News, Maryland