A medical worker friend of mine, a veteran of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, told me something sobering today. He said, "This is a Dunkirk moment for humanity and the nurses, doctors, housekeepers, EMTs, respiratory therapists, etc, are the ones in the boats." Are we ready? What can be done to help? This installment centers mostly around Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's press briefing on March 21, 2020. Topics include changes in testing criteria, availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by medical personnel, and whether there will be further restrictions on closing down non-essential businesses. Image credit to Patricia Parmiter who sewed these masks for medical workers in preparation for an anticipated increase in COVID-19 cases.
"This is a very fluid situation. It is dynamic. It literally as you see changes hour to hour. I assess what is happening not only in Virginia but in this country hour by hour and make decisions accordingly."
"Today we're announcing that our testing criteria will give additional priority to medical professionals who have had contact with or cared for someone who has COVID-19 and have developed any symptoms."
"We are also working to get more of the supplies. The masks and gowns that our front-line health care providers need. A shipment of PPEs, personal protective equipment, was distributed to providers yesterday."
"But we said we are watching Virginians and I am proud of what most Virginians are doing but let's be clear. There are a few people that are not getting the message. If our restaurants, our fitness centers and theaters stay open with more than ten people with more than ten patrons, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and lose your operating permit on the spot. This is real. I am taking this seriously and I ask you to take it seriously as well."
"First and foremost we're distributing what we get from the national stockpile. I think also whether its a private practice doctor or a health system provider's, they are also using their supply chains to make sure we have as much PPE as our providers need. Second, at the Virginia Emergency Support Team, the vest logistics, they are looking at following every lead. We're getting lots of leads from people whether it's General Assembly members or folks in industry or in health care that has some leads on where we might get additional supply and we are following those down to make sure that those are real possibility."