As cases of COVID-19 begin to rise, it may feel like spring all over again. But experts believe this fall and winter the pandemic will look different than what we faced earlier this year. How can you and your family navigate this next wave of the virus safely? Dr. David Sidebottom, Chief of Infectious Disease at Lowell General Hospital, shares his advice.
Ask the Expert: A COVID-19 Q&A
As of early November, we are already seeing a slow but steady uptick in COVID cases arriving at the hospital. Because we have many public measures in place now to stop the spread of the virus, like widespread mask use, social distancing rules and strong testing, we don’t think we will see the spike in cases we saw in the spring. But we do believe the number of cases will go up, and while the curve may not be as steep, it is likely to be a longer duration.
If the Southern Hemisphere is any indication, we are hopeful that flu will be significantly reduced compared to most years. The current safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID are effective in slowing the spread of flu as well.
Learn more: Flu Information
Yes, now more than ever. Anything the public can do to stay safe and healthy is going to help us manage this pandemic. A wave of flu combined with COVID would prove to be extremely challenging on the healthcare system.
Unfortunately, large indoor gatherings are a primary way COVID is spreading. At Lowell General, we are asking employees to celebrate the holidays with people in their households this year and avoid large family gatherings so we can protect patients and staff. If you want to keep Grandma and Grandpa safe, ask them to stay home this year and connect with them online or over the phone.
While we have enough for right now, we talk weekly about supplies and what our needs are to make sure we are prepared for what’s to come. We work closely with our Wellforce colleagues at Tufts Medical Center and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital to understand our needs and address them in the supply chain. I think every hospital would like to have more, but we feel good about where we are right now.
Yes. It is very important that you stay engaged with your healthcare provider and don’t delay care, something we saw happening during the first wave. We have taken every precaution to make sure our patients and staff are protected. We are the experts and will do everything in our power to keep you Safe with Us.
Don't let the fear of contracting COVID keep you from seeking treatment. We urge you and your family members to pay attention to the warning signs and symptoms of severe illness. At our Emergency Department we have all the equipment, expertise, and protocols in place, and follow all state and federal guidelines for patient and staff safety.
There are a several vaccines being trialed and the results so far look very promising, which is great news. But even if a vaccine is approved in the coming weeks, it will take time to mass produce and distribute it on a scale that makes it available to all of us and have an impact on the public. At Lowell General, we are already actively preparing for storage and distribution as soon as it arrives.
For more information on Lowell General Hospital’s COVID-19 services and resources, visit www.lowellgeneral.org/covid19.