Renown prepares for surge in patients

Renown Health logo.
Renown Health logo.(KOLO)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 9:50 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -

“I am worried, really worried that the patterns and the trends of COVID-19 and I’ll speak about Northern Nevada are on the move and carry with them significant risk,” said Dr. Tony Slonim, President and CEO of Renown Health.

Dr. Slonim didn’t mince words during a virtual meeting with reporters on Monday - saying that with ten percent of the state’s COVID cases reported in just the last week, Nevadans need to do more to prevent the spread.

“Stay home, stay safe, don’t bring people into your home,” he said.

His message comes one day after Washoe County set back-to-back records on daily case count-- reporting more than 800 new cases on both Saturday and Sunday.  Dr. Slonim said the trends show that the increase in positive cases in the community will lead to an increase in hospitalizations.  But over the last few months, Renown has been preparing for a surge in patients: it has hired more staff which includes traveling nurses, it is treating COVID-19 patients in its alternate care site set up in the Mill Street Parking garage, and most recently, is treating COVID-19 patients at their homes.  Dr. Slonim shared more details about that program.

“The patients wear a device on their finger and wrist that allows our critical care staff to track key changes in their vital signs,” said Dr. Slonim.

He said, this week, they’re treating six COVID-19 patients through this program and could treat even more. It’s a way for patients to get the care they need from the comfort of their own home -- which also frees up space and resources at the hospital.

Dr. Slonim says his team continues to meet the demands of the community during this pandemic, but it is taking its toll.  He says his team is fatigued, yet they hold on to hope that a vaccine will come sooner rather than later.  He says community members can help take some of the burden off of health care workers by taking this virus seriously and doing their part.

“COVID-19 is real and it’s taking Northern Nevada by storm.  Please ensure that you and your families are doing your part to preserve our health care workforce and the beds that we have available for those who need it most,” said Dr. Slonim.

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