Coronavirus Chicago | Hospitals prepare for surge of COVID-19 patients

good morning and welcome to news views and Judy Hsu as you might have heard we are now entering the critical time during the Cova 19 pandemic here in Chicago where health officials are expecting a potential surge of cases but at the same time hospitals still have to treat other patients who will be coming to emergency rooms to get a sense of where the hospitals here are doing right now we're talking this morning with dr.

dino romero professor and chairman in the department of emergency medicine at Rush University Medical Center dr.

Romero I know it's busy and in a critical time right now thank you so much for taking some time to join us this morning thank you Judy good morning III do want to start with a number that mayor Lori Lightfoot mentioned this week 40, 000 as the number of potential hospitalizations that could be happening in the city of Chicago in the coming weeks that is a tremendous number if we come anywhere near that how would that impact our system here yeah that's a good question that is an extremely large number of admissions that could come into our hospitals you know we have have to set up multiple areas of treatment within all of our hospitals to be able to handle that surplus of patients what we're finding is that as patients are trying to recover from the illness a number of them are getting sicker and when they come to the hospital that's when they require admission and the Health System is set up like a series of dominoes if you will so big hospitals like rush we have set up multiple places to treat patients that we normally wouldn't put critically sick patients but we will use those rooms as we need to other smaller hospitals don't have that capacity so as they run out of capacity those patients will be sent to the larger hospital and in turn the larger hospitals will start to run out of capacity so we're doing everything we can to make the most of all the space that we have available to us and so dr.

take us through a little bit of the steps that you are taking at rush we know that you have basically transformed the the lobby area is that right that's correct we transform the lobby area of our main entrance around level into a low acuity treatment area they have to take patients who don't have this illness but have other conditions and we want to keep them separated from patients who may have Kovac 19 so we're using that area we're also using the ambulance Bay for patients who have potential Kovac 19 and then we're using a number of but we're using our ICU beds as well as some alternate care ICU bed that we might have to pull into action so dr.

Amaro we are now about two months I think into the first case of Cova 19 being confirmed here in Chicago can you take us through a little bit about the growth pattern I know that you and your team watch that very carefully from the very beginning and explain to everybody why this is the sort of this critical period that we're going into yeah so we've been watching this you're absolutely right we've been watching this from the very beginning and we I remember when we were looking at it there were 20 cases in Washington and two deaths at the time so obviously it's spread we're hearing reports that but yesterday we're starting to see spread in the southern part of the United States as well so we're at a critical juncture right now as we monitor the numbers and there's a lot of different models out there we had a slight glimmer of hope a few days ago with that some of the numbers seem to be tailing off a little bit now mind you we are only five days into the social distancing initiative that was started in Illinois so we might be seeing the early stages of that positively impacting this the the course of this disease process having said that we are by no means out of the woods we have to continue the social distancing we have to continue to monitor the patients coming into our hospitals the low acuity cases we have to keep keep an eye on as well as the high acuity papers we'll be back with more of our discussion after a short break hey if you like that video be sure to subscribe to our ABC 7 Chicago YouTube channel.

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