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Infectious disease physicians say new COVID-19 guidelines are not a surprise

Infectious disease physicians say new COVID-19 guidelines are not a surprise
Posted at 4:50 PM, Nov 16, 2020

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — While businesses are feeling the pain of the new COVID-19 restrictions, health experts are hopeful it will provide some much-needed relief.

Infectious disease physicians said hospitals in Kalamazoo have been busy. With the rise of COVID-19 case numbers, it's no surprise new guidelines were put into place.

"The hospitals in Michigan are just about at capacity. There is no more that we can do. At this point, people should not expect the healthcare system to just take more and more and more COVID patients," said Bronson Healthcare's Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Dr. Richard Van Enk.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced new COVID-19 guidelines on Sunday including ending indoor dining and drinks, and making all high schools and universities switch to remote learning.

Dr. Van Enk said it's important to have some specificity.

"They addressed the riskiest activities, and they narrowed them. They reduced the risk there, but they didn’t cancel everything. I think it was a nice calibrated approach to the epidemic," said Dr. Van Enk.

Dr. Tom Flynn, the Chief of Infectious Disease for WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine said it's a question of what is being gained with what is being done?

"Hopefully the shutdown of the sort that is being asked for and enacted will lessen the amount of virus going forward as we get into the worst time of year for it," said WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine's Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. Tom Flynn.

With a set three-week period for the new guidelines, both doctors said they're hopeful numbers will flatten or go down.

"I think it’s a beginning. I think we will then hope to see to whether it has any effect, marked effect or limited effect. All of the effects you are going to see is on a delayed timeline anyway," said Dr Flynn.

"That includes the incubation period for the virus plus a little bit more. I think that it is a perfect time to reassess and see if the curve is starting to flatten out or we hope go down," said Dr. Van Enk.

Going forward, Dr. Flynn said he's hopeful they'll have a vaccine to start implementing in December or January to get this pandemic under control.

For now, the new guidelines will go into effect on Wednesday.