EvergreenHealth hospital in Kirkland, Washington, is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, due to the fact that the state is home to the largest cluster of COVID-19 patients in the country. At least 65 patients have arrived at the hospital for treatment, and 15 have died — a number that accounts for half of the death toll in the US so far.
The New York Times has an inside look at how EvergreenHealth has had to rapidly adjust to the “new normal,” which includes overworking staff across all departments: sanitation, engineers, and caregivers. Most of the cases the hospital has received appear to be stemming from a nearby nursing home, where some patients are dying from COVID-19 as quickly as hours after being admitted.
Employees are also working to ensure that they are rationing enough supplies to last the pandemic by storing goggles and masks in Tupperware and washing their helmets with bleach wipes instead of regularly replacing them.
The piece is a short read, and it gives an intimate look at how a small hospital in suburban America might be the nation’s “trial run” for how it responds to a pandemic. As the number of coronavirus cases in the US continues to rise, it’s essential to know exactly how health care workers are directly responding to the outbreak and the sacrifices they make to try to save patients and simultaneously contain the virus.