With a new surge in COVID-19 cases across California, and most of America, fears of a “twin-demic” are growing. The worry is that a COVID surge, combined with flu season, could overwhelm hospitals in a matter of weeks.
“We have been preparing for capacity, making sure that we have equipment and supplies, and just making sure that our protocols are in place to keep our patients safe, as well as our health care workers,” said Dr. Sam Shen.
Shen is an emergency medicine doctor at Stanford Health Care’s Palo Alto campus and says he thinks the team and the hospital are ready to face a surge in COVID patients.
“Should we hit a surge scenario, we have prepared different backup plans,” he said. “We have scenarios to manage surges and then we have scenarios to manage a disaster.”
Shen and Betty Duong with Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 response team say their organizations feel much better prepared to deal with a possible surge now because of what they learned during the first two waves of coronavirus.
In the Spring, Santa Clara County turned the Convention Center into an emergency hospital just in case. And Doung says they’re capable of doing it again – if needed.
“We’ve been here, we have plans in place for response, we have resources, we’re able to stand these emergency operation centers up quickly, should the need arise,” she said.
Health experts say the best way to prevent a potential “twin-demic” is simple. Continue wearing a mask and following social distancing guidelines and get your flu shot.
Santa Clara County says it's seeing a much higher demand for a flu shot this year, than last. So they ask residents to make a plan at places like the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds where they can get one for free.
“As of last week, we were at more than 7,000 flu vaccinations administered, as of the end of October and that’s three times the number that we would typically have during other years,” said Doung.