A Question for Governor Northam

As I sit here with my Danny, everyone is sleeping. I am injecting my morning cup of coffee and looking up the latest numbers of people with COVID-19. I have an idea but I don’t really know who to ask.

I do believe we are fortunate to have a governor who is a doctor. Politics has no place in this discussion for the simple reason that this virus does not discriminate. This enemy does not care nor discern a difference between political opinions, and for the purposes of this post, neither will I.

For whatever reason, my mind was drawn back to a documentary I saw several years back. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember the manner by which medical services were provided. It was overseas, and when someone got sick, the doctor came to their home.

There was a young doctor on the news yesterday who was asked his opinion about those who are still trying to downplay the significance of this enemy. His message was “If you have a doubt how bad this is, go to any emergency room in any city on the East Coast. Walk-in without a mask and sit down in the ER for five minutes, and within 14 days your doubt will be gone.” Of course, he clarified he wasn’t really suggesting anyone take that action, but his point was made.

We all know that at least until we have a vaccine or a workable cocktail of drugs to fight this enemy, the most effective method of keeping us free of it is to stay home. Some hospitals are overrun with patients. Rural areas will be even worse. So I had a question to ask our governor.

Governor Northam, because we’re mostly on lockdown if someone has symptoms of COVID-19 but isn’t severe enough to require a ventilator, why don’t you work with the statewide medical community and send doctors or nurses to do old-fashioned house calls? Yes, this would require logistics and tight operational controls but …

Doctors and nurses are caring for these people anyway, and we’ll all owe them more than we can ever repay for their selfless service fighting this war. Because the hospitals need to be available for those who do require intensive care, wouldn’t it make more sense to have a doctor or nurse go to a patient with a test, rather than have that patient risk the health of others by going out?

If someone is sick … they are so scared. If they go out, even to the hospital, they don’t know if they’ll ever see family again. Naturally, they are going to touch many things between home and hospital that then become fomites. A healthy person comes behind them and …

I don’t know what the R-NOT of this virus is, but it seems logical to keep the sick at home, to the extent possible. This is the message we are getting anyway.

So, if someone is at home and exhibiting symptoms, why not send medical staff to them? It would reduce the use of PPE, as trained medical staff knows how to dress and undress safely and would only need to do so between house calls … rather than every five feet between rooms. It would also reduce the strain on hospitals as only those who are in need of an ICU bed would need to go.

In addition, the medical staff could assess the whole of the conditions of the patient, and instruct everyone in the home what to do and what not to do to keep themselves and their communities safe, in addition to giving the patient and family clear direction as to when a 911 call would become necessary.

The reason behind house calls in earlier days was so a doctor could see how their patients live.

I think that is more important now than ever before. It might just prevent others in the family and the public from being exposed to this horrible virus.

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