California ER physician: ‘Intubation of the most severe COVID-19 patients, place healthcare workers at greater risk-we need supplies, we need to keep workers safe— we need more ventilators.’

Physician to public: ‘Please don’t come to hospital unless in need of immediate care and experiencing the CDC’s stated COVID-19 symptoms.’


Brenda Kochevar

Hospitals may become short on basic supplies as more COVID-19 patients require hospitalization

Nicole White, Reporter

Physicians and healthcare workers are at a greater risk of infection in the more severe COVID-19 cases where, “Aerosol based transmission can occur such as during intubation of a patient with severe symptoms and needing airway management, “explained a northern California ER physician on the condition of anonymity after being told by their health facility not to speak to the media.

Intubation becomes necessary to assist with breathing and in order to connect to a ventilator— a machine that pushes air into the lungs to deliver a breath—this involves inserting an endotracheal tube (ET) through the mouth and into the airway.

Physicians and healthcare workers are well trained and know that they must do their best to try to minimize the risk of aerosol generating conditions and where they are more likely to be exposed to the virus during these life-saving procedures. But, according to the physician, the conditions in place right now at many hospitals are taxing these workers to the limit.

“They need rest, they need rested replacements, and they need protective supplies.”

Caring for the most serious COVID-19 patients and performing certain procedures present an increased risk to healthcare workers and this has many of the much needed front line healthcare workers on edge and exhausted.

“These procedures (such as intubation) create greater risk to healthcare workers because the patient may be uncooperative or even combative due to possible hypoxia (deprivation of oxygen)—the physicians and clinicians are in close proximity to the patient’s airway and intubation itself is vulnerable to aerosol generation and where aerosol generating events become more likely.”

Healthcare workers are becoming increasingly concerned with inadequate supplies—reusing much needed masks and not enough supplies in general.