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Published on November 16, 2020

COVID-19 Numbers Are Rising Rapidly: We Must Work Together to Stop the Spread

COVID-19 numbers are rising at an alarming rate in our communities. Chief Physician Executive Bruce Swords, MD, PhD, explained what these numbers mean and shared how we can stop the spread in this 2 Your Well-Being discussion with WFMY News 2

Can you explain why the current trends in COVID-19 numbers are so concerning?

Note: Numbers current as of 11/16/20.

“We have had ninety-plus patients in our facilities for the past several days, even over 100 at times, and what's concerning is that a few short weeks ago, maybe eight, we had one-third of those cases in our facilities. And so what's concerning is the rapid rise in the number of patients that we have - from mid-30s to upwards of 100 patients in our facilities. And that rapid rise is concerning because we don't see that tapering off anytime soon.”

“There are more people testing positive, and that's because there's more coronavirus in our communities, and a subset of those people who are infected are extraordinarily sick and require hospitalization, and unfortunately, as we know, some of those patients die.”

Does Cone Health have enough beds to take care of the current number of patients needing care? What if numbers increase?

“It's a real concern. Certainly, we have the number of beds and staff members and doctors and nurses to take care of the patients we have now. And we will do everything we can to take care of as many patients in the future as we need to, but our resources will get constrained and we may have to start shifting resources to the right patients - we don't know what that will look like, but we have to get this under control now.”

“We do know that if resources get constrained, there may have to be some really tough decisions that are made. We can recall many months ago in European countries where doctors had to make really tough choices about who was going to get what care. And thankfully we haven't had to do that, we don't think we will have to do that, but it all depends on how engaged our community members get in controlling the virus and the spread of the virus.”

What does the community need to do to stop the spread of COVID-19?

“I'm not sure anything needs to be different other than everybody needs to participate. We know what works. We know that wearing a mask, a real mask works. We know that you need to wear the mask over your mouth and your nose, not under your chin or just over your mouth. We also know that you need to stay away from each other and distance yourselves while wearing a mask. It's not one or the other. It's both. And then, of course, wash your hands, because the virus can stay intact on solid surfaces. So the message isn't doing anything differently - it's everybody has to participate, and unfortunately, not everybody has participated in these COVID rules that we've designated.”

Should families consider changing their holiday plans?

“We are so used to getting together with family members and other loved ones during the holidays. These are really tough conversations and tough decisions. I think the plans, the recommendations that are in place now are to keep your gathering small – so less than 10. And if you are celebrating with people who are not your family members, you have to follow these rules I just outlined: wear a mask, even in your house, stay away from people, even when they are in your house. And in the best of all worlds, those folks who can cancel their plans and do something virtually - that would be better.”

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2 Your Well-Being

Cone Health and WFMY News 2 are excited to partner together to provide health and wellness information for you and your family. Watch Cone Health experts on television and online.

Tune in to WFMY News 2 every Monday to watch health segments on a variety of wellness topics.