Hospital operations expert expresses optimism about system handling coronavirus influx

Hospital operations expert Dr. Carri Chan said on Friday that many hospitals are taking precautionary actions to prepare for the coronavirus.

Chan told “America’s Newsroom” that she’s aware of hospitals that are considering canceling and postponing elective surgeries and flexing up capacity in other units of their facility outside of their intensive care unit.

Chan, an associate professor at Columbia Business School, went on to say, “If we can take these preventative measures and mitigate and smooth the demand, we’ll be in a much better position to handle the patients that do come in.”

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Meanwhile, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state laboratories grapple to keep up with the growing demand for coronavirus testing, Mayo Clinic announced in a statement on Thursday that it has developed a test.

The Mayo Clinic can now detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus — which causes COVID-19 — in clinical samples (such as nasal and throat swabs) from suspected coronavirus patients. The results from the test will be available “within 24 hours,” said Matthew Binnicker, a clinical microbiologist and director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

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As coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., the quest to combat the global pandemic is being hampered by testing kit shortages and a fear that the materials needed to make more may soon run dry.

Chan said that while hospitals are taking proactive measures to increase capacity as much as possible, they are considering alternative preventative measures.

“We need to start thinking about who are the patients that are most at risk,” Chan said.

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Chan went on to say, “So if we act quickly and we act proactively, then we can actually, with the same amount of capacity, enable ourselves to treat more patients and reduce the overall risks to our population.”

Chan advised social distancing and “listening to government officials and the CDC.”

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