California surpassed New York as the state with the most coronavirus cases in the US. However, while New York reached its coronavirus peak within a month, California saw a slow build up to the surge, according to Johns Hopkins University.
As New York was one of the first states to be hit with the surge, it did not have much time to prepare, according to Dr. Mizuho Morrison, an emergency physician in Southern California.
However, as New York went through its surge and eventually bent the curve, she says doctors in California were learning from their New York colleagues and putting plans in place to manage its surge.
“In emergency medicine, we actually call this time to prepare the golden hour. So we had that luxury,” she said.
“Based on what our colleagues were learning and essentially teaching us in live time from New York, we had time to develop impressive surge plans. Our new triage systems were actually stopping patients before they even enter the hospital, separating out those that may have Covid symptoms. We’ve separated our ICU and in-patient wards, and have ramped up outpatient telemedicine,” she explained.
However, Morrison says that she is dreading the upcoming flu season, which may complicate things, especially when states and schools start reopening and people go back to work.
“We have rapid influenza testing, but rapid Covid testing is not so robust. We don’t have enough of it. We really reserve it for those patients who’re coming to the hospital. As flu season begins to hit, because the symptoms and presentation is so similar, it’s going to be difficult for us to decipher, is this Covid or is this influenza?” Morrison said.