Rhode Island Hospital ready for possible surge in COVID-19 patients
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Medical leaders at Rhode Island hospital told reporters on Thursday that the hospital has been planning for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients for some time and is ready should it happen.
“We are seeing a gradual rise in cases of COVID. We’re not seeing the exponential growth that people are seeing on the news in New York,” said Dr. Jeremiah Schurr, Lifespan’s Physician-in-Chief of Emergency Medicine.
He also said the hospital currently has enough personal protective equipment to keep staff safe.
“We do have concerns, like other health systems in Rhode Island, about how long that supply will last,” said Dr. Schurr. “We are taking actions internally to conserve what we have.”
According to hospital officials, there are 150 ventilators in the Lifespan system.
“We have surge plans to house those possibly 150 ventilated patients in both Rhode Island Hospital, the Miriam Hospital, and Newport,” said Dr. Mitchell Levy, Medical Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Rhode Island Hospital.
Dr. Levy said it is impossible to predict what the surge might be like, but thinks Rhode Island might not have one at all if residents continue to practice social distancing.
“I do think that it’s possible that we may have succeeded in flattening the curve,” said Dr. Levy. “But there’s really no way to say, except to watch how things evolve over time.”
Rhode Island Hospital now has a tent set up outside its emergency room specifically for coronavirus-related cases. Dr. Schurr said Lifespan is looking to put up similar tents at its other facilities.