News Roundup July 17th, 2020

Many states are now reversing reopening plans due to a resurgence in COVID-19 across different regions and counties. Particularly concerning are the taxed and overwhelmed health care systems across the Sunbelt. Texas, Florida (two of the most populous states in the US) and Arizona are setting new daily records for infection as the entire US grapples with a record number of over 70,000 cases in one day alone. How this pandemic impacts home health care professionals can manifest in various ways. 

In the Washington Post, there are reports that patients are being transported to other hospitals with some traveling up to 600 miles to receive care and attention. What we are seeing is a repeat of hospitals being overwhelmed like in New York and Michigan but now in different locales.

“In California, doctors are ­shipping patients as many as 600 miles away because they can’t be cared for locally. In Florida, nurses are pouring in from out of state to reinforce exhausted medical workers.”

With resources utilized primarily to care for COVID-19 patients and staffing growing short, elective surgeries and non-essential procedures are suspended through regions in Franklin, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Dallas and more. Alternatively, where the virus has been under control and spikes have been contained, some bans have also been lifted like in Norfolk, Virginia from Fox 48 / WAVY TV:

“Across the Commonwealth, COVID-19 restrictions delayed many elective surgeries and eight-month-old Rhett Harmon was one of the patients scrubbed from the CHKD schedule in March.

[…] As soon as the ban lifted, the team at CHKD’s Craniofacial Center rescheduled him for June. Now in mid-July, Rhett has recovered just in time to celebrate National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month.”

And finally, a common refrain repeated throughout this pandemic has been the shortage of home health care workers to care for the elderly especially as patients are being transferred out of nursing homes to their families’ accommodation to prevent further risks of an outbreak.

From WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee

“As nursing homes have become hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks, home health care may become a more popular avenue for those who are able to receive it, but the industry is currently facing a shortage of registered nurses in Wisconsin, according to a state agency.”