As the Labor Day holiday weekend kicks off, a valley hospital official is putting out an urgent warning about another possible surge in coronavirus spread.
Virus-related hospitalizations at Eisenhower Health, and even countywide, were trending down Friday. There were only about 12 patients receiving care for coronavirus – the lowest the hospital has seen since Memorial Day weekend back in May.
Alan Williamson, MD, chief medical officer with Eisenhower Health is warning after that holiday, there was a months-long surge in coronavirus-related hospitalizations – a spike he attributes to both large gatherings and celebrations, as well as the aggressive push to reopen businesses then. He's concerned the same thing could be happening all over again.
"We're seeing a bit of the same pressures right now where there's pressures to reopen businesses," Williamson said. "And at the same time we have the Labor Day holiday, another point where we tend to gather together in large groups and celebrate the end of summer. But we have to understand that even though livelihoods are potentially at stake if we don't open our businesses aggressively, lives are at stake if we do this without caution."
To help with the last major spike the hospital saw, 20 military medics from the Air Force were brought in to assist, because the hospital didn't have the staff to handle that many coronavirus patients.
After spending weeks here, that team has now departed. Williamson said if the hospital were to see another surge, they would need to bring in more outsourced medical help.
Williamson warned that just because it feels like metrics are trending in the right direction, everybody should remain vigilant and have a safe holiday weekend.