GREENSBORO, N.C. — By now, most of us know that North Carolina's reopening will happen in three phases.
What you may not know is that Cone Health is taking a similar approach to elective surgery. They're bringing them back in phases and we're getting ready to head into phase 2.
We spoke with Cone Health's Chief Physician Executive Dr. Bruce Swords. He said, "We're really focused on what procedures and what volumes are we capable of providing safely this week, next week. And we're making week-by-week decisions about what procedures we're doing at which one of our facilities."
Cone Health looked at several key metrics to decide it was time to move forward with more elective procedures. Dr. Swords says there's four they're focusing on:
- How many patients is Cone Health taking care of?
- Is there enough personal protective equipment?
- Is there enough testing and people to do the testing?
- And is there enough staff and ICU beds available?
Cone Health officials say community members can help as well. Dr Swords says "The other thing our community members can do is come to the hospital and seek care when you need it. If you're suffering from a medical emergency or some other medical urgency it's an emergency because time is of the essence."
He added, "Don't be concerned about COVID, because our health system, our facilities, our hospitals are all safe."
Swords says if you're having shortness of breath, symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, or any kind of life-threatening symptoms, don't think twice about coming to the hospital.
Dr. Swords had some additional advice if you're going in for an elective procedure, "Don't go outside of your home for as long as you can prior to the procedure. If you do need to go outside, wear a mask. Pay extra precaution to quarantining yourself in some sort of fashion before the elective procedure."