As a public service, Shaw Media will provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here
GENEVA – Unlike hospitals in other parts of Illinois and in other states, Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva has enough personal protection equipment for its doctors and nurses, and is fully prepared for a surge in COVID-19 patients, if it were to happen.
Dr. Brian Poustinchian, medical director of hospital medicine at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, said that the entire Northwestern Medicine system has adequate supplies and is prepared for a potential spike in COVID-19 patients.
"I've seen collaboration between all Northwestern Medicine hospitals that has been tremendous," Poustinchian explained. "We have daily calls and discuss with the other hospitals in the system, and we're able to help everyone that may be in need."
He said that Delnor is currently in a "good place" and that medical staff has everything they need to safely take care of all patients, thanks to advance planning for worst-case scenarios.
"We've heard the stories about [what's happening in] Italy, and the good news is with [Gov. JB Prtizker's] shelter-in-place and as long as we do our part, it makes a big difference," he said. "We want to limit the spread in the community, but I feel confident practicing at Delnor that we have the planning in place to be ready if that spike [in patients] actually happens."
Poustinchian recommended that the community continues to practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from each other. He said that while the shutdown has been hard on everyone, it's important to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
"The measures are making a difference. This virus is more contagious than the flu, and the more people expose themselves to others, the higher and faster the rate of transmission, especially with asymptomatic patients," he explained. "This is a very difficult situation, but we need to look at the effect, and to have these measures in place, as inconvenient as they are, if we don't do these things, it will get worse. This is all absolutely worth it."
Poustinchian said he and all the doctors at Delnor continue to learn more about the virus, and are keeping up with the ever-changing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.
"We don't know why two people who have the same virus can have very different responses," he said. "Some people get very sick. One patient will have no symptoms and another will end up on a ventilator."
Even if Delnor does see a surge in COVID-19 patients sometime in the next few weeks, Poustinchian said the hospital staff will still have the capacity to treat patients with other medical problems. But he recommended that if someone has potential symptoms of COVID-19 to call their primary care doctor first.
"If there is an acute issue and you need to come to the hospital, we're ready to take care of you," he said. "It's times like these when [healthcare workers] step up."