From CBC News on April 2, 2020:
“The biggest mistake we made was to admit patients infected with COVID-19 into hospitals throughout the region,” said Carlo Borghetti, the vice-premier of Lombardy, an economically crucial region with a population of 10 million.
“We should have immediately set up separate structures exclusively for people sick with coronavirus. I recommend the rest of the world do this, to not send COVID patients into health-care facilities that are still uninfected.”
However, the virus was not only spread to “clean” — i.e. infection-free — hospitals by admitting positive patients. In early March, as the number of infected was doubling every few days, authorities allowed overwhelmed hospitals to transfer those who tested positive but weren’t gravely ill into assisted-living facilities for the elderly.
“It was like throwing a lit match onto a haystack,” said Borghetti, who spoke out against the directive at the time. “Some facilities refused to take in the positive patients. For those that did [take them in], it was devastating.”
I don’t know of any free-standing COVID-19 hospitals in the U.S. Some hospitals here are “cohorting” all COVID-19 patients on dedicated nursing units, unless they need the ICU. That might help prevent spread to elsewhere in the hospital. And I know assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are quite hesitant, if not outright refusing, to accept transfers that aren’t certified COVID-free. I don’t blame them.
Steve Parker, M.D.