Friday, May 29, 2020

Slowly Returning to Normal

Researchers at Harvard University have studied COVID-19 and weather data and have concluded that warmer temperature and moderate outdoor ultraviolet light exposure may offer a modest reduction in the reproductive number. You will recall from my blog of March 27 that the reproduction number essentially tells how many people will be infected by each person who becomes infected with, in this case, COVID-19. A number less than one will ultimately lead to there being no one left with the disease in the population. If the number is greater than one, it means the number of infected people will grow. The three things that affect the reproduction number are the number of days that a person is infectious, how many people the infectious person will encounter (the contact rate), and how likely is it that the person being contacted will contract the disease (how infectious is the virus?). It is this last variable that the weather impacts, because once outside the body, the hotter temperatures and the ultraviolet light from sunnier weather negatively affect the virus.

So, the Harvard researchers believe that warm weather by itself will help us, but it won’t be enough to allow us to stop social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Many then ask, “will we get another wave in the fall?” No one really knows. Theoretically, the virus will get somewhat more infectious again, but the real question is “will we let our guard down?” 

If we let our guard down, it’s fair to say that COVID-19 infection rates will rise. So, let’s commit to maintaining social distancing and washing our hands!

Our new procedural testing center (temporary buildings in Lot F - across from Physicians Pavilion North) are being used to test surgical patients for COVID-19 up to 5 days prior to their scheduled procedures. I am happy to report that the center has been very successful. As of Thursday, we tested more than 320 patients with only 2 positive COVID-19 cases. The surgical procedures for these two individuals have been postponed until they are fully recovered. 

I want to congratulate our Primary Stroke Center, under the leadership of Michael Sellman, MD, and Aaliyah Franks, RN, which was recently selected for the 2020 American Heart Association’s (AHA) Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG)-Stroke: Gold Plus with Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll. 

The award recognizes hospitals that meet specific quality measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. This recognition means we have achieved 85% or higher adherence in all measures for transient ischemic attack (TIA) and a rate of 90% compliance or higher for at least 12 consecutive months for diabetic patients. The award also recognizes 75% or higher compliance with five or more measures to achieve the Plus Award.

This award is a testament to our Stroke Center’s strong commitment to reliably providing care according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines built on the latest scientific evidence.

I want to thank all our clinicians for their hard work and dedication to achieving this level of performance. Great work and congratulations!

Go on a walk or a run for a great cause!
Another fundraiser for the GBMC HealthCare system is coming up and this one is to benefit our hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

To maintain social distancing guidelines, this year’s annual event will take place VIRTUALLY!

The event, presented by the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary, has raised more than $1.75 million for GBMC’s NICU over the past 31 years and offers GBMC employees, volunteers, and the community an opportunity to support the more than 400 critically ill and premature babies treated annually. All proceeds from the event will benefit the GBMC NICU to help acquire specialized equipment, provide quality facilities, and employ a team of talented doctors and nurses who work around-the-clock to help these babies while providing comfort to their parents and family members.

As you can imagine, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families of infants in our NICU are facing tougher challenges and bigger emotional struggles. Currently, parents are only allowed to visit one at a time, making it difficult for them to deal with the emotional hardships of having an infant in the NICU.

We are so proud of our NICU, and with your help, we can continue to support them.

If you’re interested in participating with your family or friends, please visit to register and get additional information. The virtual race takes place anytime between Thursday, June 18 through Sunday, June 21, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. Thank you!

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