CHI Health officials talk COVID-19 pandemic and projections

Posted at 2:32 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 23:34:20-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Officials and physicians with CHI Health held a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday to discuss what they've learned from treating patients with the virus and their pandemic projections moving forward.

"We are not an ivory tower," said Dr. Robert "Bo" Dunlay, the Dean of the Creighton School of Medicine. "Our goal is to deploy our resources where there is the greatest need to provide the greatest good."

CHI Health officials said they’ve cared for 621 patients with COVID-19. Currently there are 61 patients with COVID-19 at their hospitals, with 17 under investigation. the hospital system said they didn’t face shortages of supplies. The health care system's peak was at 167 total COVID-19patients back on April 28th.

Looking back from the start of the spread of COVID-19 in March to this month, CHI Health’s Dr. Douglas Moore said hospital mortality has averaged around 10% and ICU mortality around 14%, which is better than the national average.

Dr. Moore added that preparedness helped the health system not get overwhelmed.

"This early preparedness helped us to be prepared to not be overrun in our hospitals," Moore said.

Additionally, infectious disease specialist Dr. Quimby noted that COVID-19 is less severe overall compared to other coronaviruses but is easier to spread before people develop symptoms. Because of this, COVID-19 is harder to contain.

"It’s not gone and we need to make sure to do what we can so it keeps control to keep it controllable," Quimby said.

Despite this, Dr. Quimby mentioned that cases are trending down in Nebraska and that most positive cases don’t see the inside of a hospital.

When it comes to a possible second wave, Dr. Quimby said there are various predictive models out there.

One model shows predictions for Nebraska starting in the fall at 500 cases per day, which is where the state was during its peak. Dr. Quimby added that the health system was able to take care of that amount before without being overwhelmed.

“It’s not gone and we need to make sure we can do what we can so it stays controllable,” Dr. Quimby said. “It probably won’t be totally under control until there is an effective vaccine.”

He stressed to continue social distancing, keep practicing good hygiene and wearing masks. If these continue to be practiced, Dr. Quimby said cases shouldn’t be worse than what we’ve already faced.

Later in the summer, CHI Health expects to get an automated large capacity molecular instrument that will increase efficiency and will enable them to double testing capacity.

The CHI Health Core Lab has done 20,000 coronavirus tests, resulting in 2,400 positive tests.

"As a society and an organization, as a healthcare system, we’re preparing," said Dr. Cliff Robertson, the CEO of CHI Health. "This is something we’re going to have to live with for years to come and we’re going to continue to provide great care."

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