As COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., more initiatives are put in place to keep people in their homes and “socially distant” from each other. Many communities, including ours, have implemented travel and visitor restrictions to reduce the amount of person-to-person interactions. These restrictions and cancellations are part of our local efforts in the nationwide approach to flattening the coronavirus (COVID-19) curve.
Flattening the curve
Flattening the curve refers to the idea of increasing social distancing in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If we can practice and follow social distancing guidelines as recommended, this may help to decrease the chances of seeing a major spike in the number of people getting sick at one time. Our Infection Preventionist Sheila Briner explains why everything is being cancelled, and the importance of following social distancing protocols.
“The reason for cancelling meetings and events is slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The key for healthcare providers is to ensure that not everyone will need care all at once. If we can slow down the speed that COVID-19 hits our community, then we can provide better care for your loved ones, especially the immunocompromised patients that are going to need special equipment and time in the hospital. We do not have the resources to care for 1,000 COVID-19 patients at one time in smaller, local hospitals. Bigger hospitals will be taking care of their bigger populations, so we will need to ‘take care of our own’.”
Flattening the curve will not prevent COVID-19 from reaching our community, but it will prevent us from running short on resources to treat the ill. Sheila says, “While we can’t take care of 1,000 COVID-19 patients at once, we CAN take care of 1,000 patients over time if they trickle into the hospital in smaller, more manageable numbers. Flattening the curve can keep our hospital from becoming overwhelmed with patients and low on necessary resources and supplies.”
Lastly, she added, “Please also remember to wash your hands.”
Practicing protective measures
Without taking protective measures, the spike in confirmed COVID-19 patients will exceed the capacity of our country’s healthcare system. Not only us, but other hospitals like us, and bigger organizations too. If we can practice protective measures like washing your hands, social distancing, staying inside, and other CDC recommended safety protocols, we can stay on top of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.