I diagnosed the first case of COVID in this Wisconsin hospital.
I’m one of the internal medicine hospitalists here. Currently, it is between us and the critical care physicians to take care of all of the people who come in with COVID-19, or that are being tested for it. If people meet a certain criteria coming into the hospital then they will warrant testing. As I’m sure you’ve heard, there is limited testing available, so we have to be somewhat discerning in who we check. When testing a person, they have to go into a special unit with appropriate precautions. They call it a Negative Pressure Unit and it sucks all of the air from the unit to the outside, constantly removing any kind of airborne illness that might be there.
It’s not as busy in the hospital as it used to be. I think it’s because people are afraid to come into the hospital, since people can’t go to their doctor’s appointments due to all the clinics being shut down. A lot of people who would’ve ordinarily come in for varying reasons are not coming in. There's a fair amount of people that are visiting and being tested for COVID-19 but at least in this area of Wisconsin, it is a small percentage that actually comes up positive. The ones who do come in that are not COVID related are typically really sick, and they just can’t avoid coming in.
I think it’s interesting to see how quickly people have changed their way of thinking about a great many things because of this pandemic. I think that being an emergency has made people fast-track a lot of policies that have been in the works for a long time. It has evidently brought to light what is important and what is not in our world. And this goes for both nationwide and in the hospital.
I would suspect the hospital will get substantially busier in the upcoming weeks. I think that people who have been staying out of the hospital will get sicker and will eventually have to come in. I foresee a surge of Coronavirus cases here, which will probably worsen as the shutdown stops, as businesses open and as people start leaving their houses again. Now that the summer’s coming, the weather will be nicer and more appealing, and it seems like people will be out a lot more. Beyond that, it sounds like this is gonna be something that’s probably gonna drag on in low numbers possibly for another few months or even years. It may just change the way we do things for an indefinite amount of time. It seems impractical to try to make a solid prediction right now.
Written by: Lily Zeng