RALEIGH – The massive wave of COVID-19 infections feared to over run healthcare systems projected by computer models failed to materialize. The lack of an overwhelming surge is sure to be attributed to social distancing mandates, regardless of how dubious the evidence for such is, but either way hospitals have been running half empty and bleeding money due to the willfully adopted COVID-19 tunnel vision.
That’s beginning to change as hospitals across North Carolina begin to resume elective surgeries for the first time in weeks. The term ‘elective surgery’ may be a misnomer, as it includes vital procedures like angioplasty and cancer screenings. That means there has been a significant suppression of all sorts of essential healthcare needs among communities, which has knock on effects of its own, independent of coronavirus.
The hospitals’ capital structures have been strained as well. Elective procedures and all other services that were suspended to focus on SARS-CoV2 happen to be where hospitals make a lot of their revenue. This is why hospitals are the targets of federal and state relief packages; they’ve had to furlough workers and run through cash reserves because of a LACK of patients during the pandemic.
Carteret Healthcare, located on the coast in Morehead City, is resuming elective surgeries this week. Carteret County has had less than two dozen cases of the virus and three deaths. The hospital had over a year’s worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the feared shortage of which influence the decision to suspend much of the hospital’s non-COVID-19 healthcare.
From JDNews (emphasis added):
“[…] “With some models predicting hundreds to thousands of hospital admissions in Carteret County based on population, we are very thankful we have been spared as a community and are fortunate to have had only five COVID-19 patients hospitalized at CHC in the last 45 days,” Harvey Case, CHC President is quoted as saying in the release. “From a resource perspective, we were prepared for a large surge of COVID-19 patients and we put a tremendous amount of time and effort accumulating knowledge, personal protective equipment, beds, negative pressure equipment, ventilators, test kits and ensuring we have the clinical experts available to care for whatever comes our way.”
Over the last 45 days the hospital has been preparing for the potential of massive outbreaks in Carteret County, and the hospital made significant advancements to their ability to respond quickly to an ever-changing environment due to COVID-19, according to the release.
Newer models based on actual data versus projections now show estimates for future needs of hospital resources have dramatically decreased, according to the release. Due to this, the hospital is making plans to resume elective surgeries and reopen outpatient services in phases.
On May 4, Carteret Health Care will begin resuming services and contacting patients to reschedule appointments and services along with seeing new patients, according to the release. […]”
It’s not just relatively rural hospitals making moves to resume some procedures now that the threat proved overblown. Winston-Salem-based Novant Health, which operates hospitals in four states, also resumed more procedures and even in-person wellness visits.
Similarly Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has announced they well also resume similar services in early May.
Novant is worried about the effects the healthcare restrictions are having:
“[…] “Patients need to take care of their health, and in line with national trends, Novant Health has seen a worrisome decline in patients seeking care for emergent conditions, including heart attack and stroke,” the system said in a statement.
Carl Armato, Novant’s president and chief executive, said that “putting off care indefinitely is simply not good for our patients — and in some cases, deadly.”
“We urge our community to seek the care they need. At the advice of our physicians, and on behalf of our patients who need care, we have thoughtfully decided to resume some of these services. The number of patients receiving care for COVID-19 within our facilities has stabilized, and our team stands ready to care for the community.” […]”
One might think that, if hospitals are reopening for regular business because the Chicken Little projections about COVID-19 did not come to fruition, that the rest of the economy could also begin the process of resuming regular business. After all, that’s why the statewide shutdown was decreed by Governor Roy Cooper, right?
Except the goal posts have been continually moved, so long as Cooper still holds the reins, and economic and basic liberties of North Carolinians are now subject to his whim.