Working From Home And Closures Become The New Normal As South Florida Coronavirus Cases Grow

Mar 13, 2020

Coronavirus cases continue growing across South Florida.  More were found in Broward County. The first few cases were also recently confirmed in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

 

 

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is among the people who have tested positive for the virus. He shared the news in a video posted on Twitter.

Health care providers and officials are taking precautions to stop the spread of the virus. On the South Florida Roundup, host Tom Hudson talked about those measures with Dr. Evan Boyar, chief of emergency medicine at Broward Health.

Here's an excerpt of their conversation:

DR. EVAN BOYAR: Over the last few weeks or so, we've been kind of anticipating that this might be coming about.

TOM HUDSON: What's that anticipation look like on the ground in your ERs?

There's a lot of behind-the-scenes evaluation of the situation, of where do we see ourselves in a week, two weeks, three weeks. So that we could start to have plans and processes in place. When things start to come to light, we're just ready to work on implementing the next phase.

What can you share with us? As we had a handful of cases in Florida a week ago, and here we are with a few dozen now.

From the beginning, we essentially started preemptive triage screening, which kind of preceded cases even in Broward County. And then from that, you start to map out your areas in your hospital that you're going to use and then you start to turn to visitors. So within the past week, we started to curtail that and ask screening questions. It's been well-received. People understand that this is a partnership.

What about precautions for you and your fellow health care workers? One of the many concerns in the health care industry is that this virus and how the outbreak manifests itself could really show the vulnerabilities in terms of labor supply when it comes to the health care field.

If there was a surge of cases of any illness, corona or not, then you have to make sure that you have your adequate staffing patterns in order to parallel that. As far as being potentially exposed, where then you have to talk about patient tracing and quarantine of providers, you would hope to mitigate that by staying ahead of that. That's why we have these really strict screening questions and really taking it to the next level so that everybody's protected until we could rule things out. And then you could tone it down.

When it comes to protection for the health care worker, what supplies are necessary?

Typically what's necessary is to make sure they have the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as goggles, masks, gowns, gloves. The type of mask varies on the situation. And you have to be cautious with our supplies like the rest of the state, like the rest of the nation. So we have to use it appropriately.

How about this idea of working remotely? A lot of companies are instituting it or trying to figure out a way to institute it.

That speaks to the community engagement that we're all in this together and that we'll get through this together. If operations could continue through remote settings, then I think that that's a positive initiative, that everybody's working together to tackle this as it's new and fresh.

This interview has been edited lightly for brevity and clarity.

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