Dr. Anuj Shah, an interventional cardiologist who has joined hospitals like St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic, St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark and Jersey City Medical Center, said health care workers are typically allotted one set of PPE a day, and often wear basic surgical masks they replace over the approved equipment.
He said some 20% to 50% of patients in hospital beds may be suspected for coronavirus, but ultimately test negative.
“There is a bottleneck that is created because we have all these patients that are sitting, waiting for the test results to come back,” he said. “We don’t know which way they’re going to go. We have to assume that they have coronavirus. We have to use all the gears we have in our capacity.”
The number of hospitalized, yet negative patients could fall as a higher percentage of symptomatic people test positive due to the outbreak’s spread.
“It used to be a roll of the dice,” Shah said. “Now, it’s flipping a coin.”
Shah said rapid testing, as well as other efforts to create in-home tests, could prove game-changers, as soon as they’re widely available and put into practice.
“It’s super exciting to hear that,” he said. “I think, theoretically, it will make all the difference.”