The exact surge in coronavirus patients that California will see depends on different factors, like the effectiveness of social distancing. And if you spend enough time with the data, things can start to feel bleak, because this challenge is unlike any we’ve faced before.
California’s hospitals have cared for the ill and injured through all manner of disasters. But this one is different – not only because it is affecting the whole globe, but also because so many people will need the exact same treatment at the exact same time.
This is why, over the past couple of weeks, hospitals and health care workers have been in overdrive – converting space to make room for more beds, allocating protective equipment based on risk factors to ensure an adequate supply for the long haul, securing state and federal approval to operate with the flexibility needed to care for patients.
Having spent many, many hours embedded with the Governor’s team in the state’s Office of Emergency Services, I can tell you that everyone is working 18-plus hours a day, and the dedication to supporting what hospitals need to do their jobs is impressive.
Although we hope the surge will not be as large as feared, we continue to work diligently on a strategy to clear the decks by securing state and federal support; advising the state on hospital operations; and fighting for financial assistance, personal protective equipment, ventilators, and more.
All of us, as health care providers, health care advocates, Californians, Americans, are united to face this challenge, aided by intense preparation over the past couple of weeks. Indeed, it is only through our unity and readiness that we can continue to be there for people in their darkest times.