The Crestwood Hospital CEO addressed how we all need to keep coronavirus in mind during activities related to Halloween, which is coming up on Saturday. Many are preparing costumes for trick-or-treating and other events.
Pam Hudson, Crestwood CEO, said because most people wear a mask with their costume on Halloween, she hopes they'll do so this year, not only as a part of their costume, but also to keep themselves and others safe.
She recommends families follow CDC guidelines that say that no one should participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters. Recommended activities include carving pumpkins outside with neighbors and friends at safe distance, virtual Halloween costume events and Halloween movie nights with your household.
Hudson said families should start talking about their plans now, if they haven't already done so.
"Caution is absolutely out there, and parents need to be very careful about the environment that they're allowing their children to have and again, that family dialogue about how risky the event is as opposed to the benefits," she said.
Hudson said she's not just worried about Halloween but also Thanksgiving and Christmas. She said she knows everyone wants to be social, but it's imperative people wear masks, social distance, sanitize and don't let their guard down around their family. She urged people to remember, a Halloween costume mask does not provide the same protection as those recommended by the CDC.
Hudson also shared how hospitals are managing a rising number of coronavirus inpatients during flu season. Hudson said the hospitals activated surge plans in March, when the pandemic began. She said when there's a spike in cases, it puts pressure on the whole system.
Fortunately, she said the supply chain for PPE has stabilized since March, so they don't expect to run into a shortage.
Hudson explained one of her biggest worries is fatigue among doctors or nurses. She said the pandemic led to long shifts and some employees to not be able to take time off.
Hudson also said during the current surge, hospital leaders are meeting daily to make sure they are prepared and have a plan for staffing or hospital beds.
"Most hospitals are reviewing their surge plan, which is, we've already surged into most hospitals have COVID specific units, that in the past we wouldn't have had patients in a special unit like that. We're already, I guess technically at a bit of a surge, but on a daily basis, we are one discharge, two discharges away from having to do something more strenuous than what our level 1, level 2 discharge plans are," she said.
Hudson didn't go into detail about what the next levels of a surge plan look like, but did say that's on hospital leaders to manage and not on the community. She said we can all help health care workers right now by staying separate, sanitizing and wearing a mask to help keep cases and hospitalizations down.