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Why Officials Want You to Stay Away from Huntington Hospital

Doctor says Italy's mistake must be avoided

Published on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 | 6:00 am
Dr. Kimberly Shriner

On March 17, Pasadena Now News Desk Editor David Cross interviewed Dr. Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease doctor at Huntington Hospital. Shriner discussed several issues related to COVID-19. This is the second part of that discussion.

More people appear to be recovering from COVID-19 than those that are dying from it.

There are a lot of people who don’t get very sick with it. That’s true. That does that mean this isn’t a serious pandemic? This is a very serious pandemic and we do have mortality, especially in high risk groups and as the virus passes through different types of populations, we learn who these people are. Certainly, our elderly, they are very high risk for having a bad outcome, being very sick and not surviving this, patients who are immunocompromised. As you move into more developed countries, where chemotherapy is being used, where people have a lot of other kinds of diseases, but they live a relatively long time, it begins to take its toll on those people that have a lot of comorbidities. So that’s why we’re very worried about certain subsets of population.

What’s being done to contain the virus within hospitals?

One of the most important things, and I think you can see what’s happened in Italy, is the collapse of the hospital systems because the hospitals became overwhelmed. Right now at Huntington Hospital, we’re doing things outside the hospital. That means in the greater community trying to get information out to allow people to understand what we’re doing at the hospital and then inside the hospital. In the outer community, we want people to stay away from the hospital if they have no reason to be there. In other words, if you have an upper respiratory infection and you’re worried that you might have this disease, you need to notify your physician and you talk to them and they will be able to send them into the direction that they need to go and decide whether or not they really have symptoms that are consistent with this or they have something else.

Are we going to have to hunker down and self-quarantine for a couple more months if not longer?

Nobody really knows. I think, you know, we’re sort of at the beginning of this and Dr Fauci, who’s just a remarkable HIV researcher and really the calm and informed voice of this kept repeating over and over. We don’t want to have the high peak that’s happened in Italy and we want to keep that slope. We know the number of cases are going to increase, but we want to keep that to a very flat peak so that we have an up and then we’d have it down pretty soon. And the only way to do that is good public health measures and to keep the public informed with appropriate and true data, and to take care of the patients who do get sick, that do require our interventions, and medically provide whatever we can provide them.

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