For nearly 10 months now I’ve talked about the Corona Virus week after week. This week I want to talk more about the Influenza virus. The CDC reported that there was a 61% decrease in specimens submitted for testing of the flu once lock down occurred in Feb 2020. From March to May 2020 there was a 98% decrease in Influenza specimens submitted. This trend has been documented worldwide. It’s believed that it is partially because patients were not presenting for treatment and partially because of community efforts to promote flu vaccines, better hand washing and wearing masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 19. It is also documented by the Centers for Disease Control that the COVID-19 19 virus is more contagious than the Influenza virus. Currently our hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with people sick with COVID-19 19. With documented statistics and studies by the CDC showing a dramatic decrease in influenza because of isolation efforts for Covid-19 can you imagine where we would be today if everyone had ignored the recommendations to wash their hands, wear a mask and watch you distance.
Our Emergency Department at Troy Regional Medical Center is seeing more patients than any time in the last year that I have been part of this team. ICU beds are full, and we are frequently at capacity requiring the transfer of our community members to facilities outside the local region and at times outside the state. We as a society are demanding our freedom to go where we want and the freedom to not wear a mask. Everyone understands that and most feel the same way. If we all submit to that desire, our hospitals will be beyond capacity more than they currently are. There will be no available doctors, nurses, medicines, supplies or rooms to care for COVID-19 patients or heart attacks, strokes, or traumas. I ask that we work a little longer to protect ourselves and everyone around us. I ask you to please wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance. Soon we can emerge from this crisis to a bright and healthy 2021.
Rick E Smith, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Troy Regional Medical Center