Today we received word that two of our ACEP members are in critical condition as a result of COVID-19. An emergency physician in his 40s in the state of Washington presented with symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 syndrome. A 70-year-old member in New Jersey has tested positive for the virus. I am deeply saddened by this news, but not surprised. As emergency physicians, we know the risks of our calling. We stand united with our colleagues and our thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery are with each of them and their families.
In Washington, whether this was a case of occupational transmission or community-based spread of the disease is unknown. The hospital was acutely aware of the COVID-19 risk to health care workers and has worked closely with the CDC to ensure the appropriate policies and procedures are in place to mitigate risk. This emergency physician complied at all times with appropriate PPE procedures.
In Patterson, NJ, the physician, who leads his institution’s emergency preparedness, was admitted to the hospital several days ago with upper respiratory problems and remains in isolation in its intensive care unit.
It is my hope that these colleagues and their cases serve as a reminder to each of us to stay vigilant. This virus is dangerous, and its impact is still unfolding. As emergency physicians, we answer the call to care for our most vulnerable, even at great personal risk. Knowing that, I urge each of you to meticulously follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself.
Rest assured ACEP will continue working tirelessly at the national level to ensure our members are safe. We remain in contact with CDC, Congress, regulatory agencies and other key decision-makers to do all we can to protect patients, physicians and emergency personnel.
I am proud of your competence, dedication and, most of all, your bravery. As our thoughts turn toward Washington and New Jersey, we remain committed to being there for anyone, at any time.
COVID-19 Clinical Alert: ACEP has a series of resources for patients, policymakers and emergency care teams. Please visit http://www.acep.org/COVID-19 for physician resources including clinical guidance and best practices, checklists and the National Strategic Plan for Emergency Department Management of COVID-19.
Please click here for the latest patient information information on COVID-19.