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Ep. 44 - LiveWell Talk On...COVID-19 (April 24, 2020) April 24, 2020

Ep. 44 - LiveWell Talk On...COVID-19 (April 24, 2020)

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Host: Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer, UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital

This is LiveWell Talk On…COVID-19. I'm Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospital. 


Today's weekly COVID update is being broadcast at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 24. 

This is the week we anticipate the surge to begin, perhaps not peak…the predicted peak right now is May 4. Linn County has 507 cases and 37 deaths. This does skew or manipulate the numbers slightly because there's a significant percentage really of nursing homes and meat packing plants. 

We are starting to see an increase in the number of people being admitted to the hospital for chronic health related reasons. And my concern is that people are not coming to the hospital when they should for fear of COVID-19. And we'll have a podcast as well as a Facebook LIVE soon as to why you should continue to go to the physician when you feel ill or have a chronic medical condition because those chronic medical conditions haven't gone away during the COVID pandemic.

They are still present. And my concern is that we'll have a peak related to the COVID admissions as well as a peek related to chronic medical conditions that have been collected for six weeks. And that could obviously put a strain on resources, but at this time our resources are in a good position. Our personal protective equipment is good with the delivery of some ISO gowns or isolation gowns the day before we were at a good spot there. Our crew care capacity is what we call green status, meaning there's plenty of capacity as well as the blood supply testing for COVID-19 is expanded the Test Iowa initiative through the state, which I don't have a lot of information on, is being rolled out, which I think is a positive. And as I said earlier, or I believed at the beginning of the pandemic, that testing wasn't that big of concern to me because we would just treat patients clinically.

I've come to appreciate that how testing can help us COVID patients that are positive or, or negative, as well as identifying patients early that perhaps are negative to save on the personal protective equipment that our staff would empirically wear for that when they take care of those patients until that test returned. Plans are being made at this time to return to some degree of normalcy as far as the operating room schedule. I look to that to come in phases with perhaps cases that don't require general anesthesia and then subsequently outpatient surgery. Then back to a full schedule optimistically. I hope that happens. We're back to business as usual sometime in June, but that may be optimistic. Bottom line is clear minds, quick hands and practice the three C’s.