(WKBN) – The last six weeks or so have seen a lot of changes at hospitals here in this area and all around the country.
It has meant a lot fewer patients and some of that is by design, but some is also being caused by fear of the virus.
As Ohio and other states prepare to lift stay-at-home regulations, medical experts are preparing themselves for a potential surge in new coronavirus cases.
“The thought is how to balance the people going out and doing their work and their life versus having too many at one time,” said Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer for Mercy Health Youngstown.
For the last six weeks, hospitals have focused on treating those with COVID-19. Elective surgeries have also been canceled.
Though the changes have caused patient census numbers to drop, they are also instilling some fear as patients are reluctant to go to the hospital.
“I want people to not be afraid to seek care, especially in emergencies because there’s gonna be more problems if they stay home,” Dr. Kravec said.
Wednesday afternoon, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine encouraged hospitals and surgery centers to find ways to start offering procedures again.
At the same time, administrators are also watching for trends that would point to what the Centers for Disease Control warns could be a second, even deadlier wave of COVID-19 later this year.
“This is gonna be a everyday monitoring between the hospitals and the Ohio Department of Health to help understand what’s happening,” Dr. Kravec said.
As health care workers wait to see what comes next, Dr. Kravec believes those on the front lines of the pandemic will be ready for it.
“Encouraging part to this whole process is that we’ve continued to learn and continue to be ready for whatever comes ahead for us,” he said.