Public Health Leadership Void in Covid19 Pandemic

No, I am not blasting our government. I am speaking about our local public health response.  I have never seen so much disagreement and lack of continuity. Social media reports show a wide variation from the suspension of non-emergent exams to the extreme of “business as usual”.

Postings on social media describe having no PPE, reusing PPE to make them last, to statements that staff are being told they do not have to use a mask if the patient

has a mask? Screening seems to be consistent across all areas, but it does differ in its implementation. CDC guidelines are known and being followed in most facilities. However, we are entering the next scary phase which is that “no symptoms” does not mean you are not carrying the virus. That will diminish the effectiveness of our screening programs.

AHEC is known for surveying our readers and we did so this week. Our survey included imaging professionals in multiple modalities.  The responses we received told us the following information.  Patients are cancelling their scheduled appointments, 72% respondents answered yes. What modalities are the most affected? Answers included all modalities, but the most cited were radiology and mammography both at 37.23% making a total of 75% of cancellations.  In conjunction with this cancellation figures, we asked about a higher than normal “no show rate” and our answer was 55% increase in “no shows”. The employment setting for our respondents ranged from hospitals 43%, Outpatient Centers, 24%, Clinics 21%, Doctors office 6%, Emergency Room Center 4%, Urgent Care 1% and Academic setting 1%.

Multiple respondents reported locking up PPE’s and supplies to prevent theft and others reporting supplies on backorder. Still more individuals reported they had no PPE in their work area.  Not only were N95 masks in short supply, but one facility has no surgical gloves. Three respondents said their physicians would not allow them to wear the masks because it scared the patients.

Our respondent’s answers came from 29 states, coast to coast. The additional information that we are noticing are the reports of reduction of staff in response to the cancellations and “no show” rates.  Some are asking for staff to take voluntary leaves to actually being furloughed.  Those remaining will begin to tire from working at this enormous pace. This is not a short trip. Protect yourself as best you can.

We will continue our updates when appropriate. Knowledge is power.  If you get one of our future surveys, please help us report information. If you need info, let us know. We will try to supply. Follow the CDC guidelines.  Our online continuing education program is available, and it can be viewed on mobile devices.

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