A few hours ago the New York Times released an article, The New Normal. The NYT reporter interviewed medical society members Dr. Francis Riedo, Dr. Jeff Tomlin and Dr. Ettore Palazzo. That full NYT article can be found below.
As the article details, their hospital had not had any coronavirus patients, but Dr. Riedo, the medical director for infectious disease, tested two pneumonia patients. He figured it was probably a one-in-a-million possibility. “I felt like I was dropping a line into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and thinking maybe I’ll come up with something,” Dr. Riedo said. The tests came back positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Tomlin, the hospital’s chief executive shared that with those results, “I think everybody knew that our work lives were going to be dramatically changed, as well as a lot of our lives in general”.
With the positive diagnosis, the focus was on identifying all workers who had been in contact with the first two pneumonia patients. “The number initially was pretty staggering just for those two,” Dr. Riedo said of the number of patients. “When we realized we had eight or nine or 10, you realize that you’re now casting a net that if you sent everybody home, you would not have an operational hospital.”
Before the virus, the hospital had only about 15 negative-airflow rooms, they now have made space for 58 patients in such rooms. “We know what we have now,” said Dr. Ettore Palazzo, chief medical and quality officer. “We want to project for what potentially could come. And so we continue to work with them on finding areas that can be converted.”