WK readies for potential third COVID-19 wave

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With a potential third wave of COVID-19 on the horizon for the fall, combined with the regular flu season, Willis-Knighton Health System is prepared and more flexible with its resources.

As the summer months have warmed up and states relax some of the strict social distancing and stay-at-home protocols first put in place back in March, many are forgetting that we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Some states have been seeing a drop in cases and deaths, leading them through several phases of reopening, whereas others have seen an increase in coronavirus cases, leading healthcare and hospital facilities to prepare for what is being called the ‘third wave’ of the virus.

“We are certainly worried about a third wave. The COVID numbers are starting to trend down again, just like we saw in the first and second waves. But we believe it’s just a matter of time before we see another resurgence. The things we are worried about are Labor Day, school going back into session, flu season that is coming up and the colder months. We are praying that there’s not a third wave. But I think this is something that we are going to have to live with, and not just for weeks or months. We may have to live with this for years. We have to prepare for that. It’s challenging for our people, but they are great warriors and great people. They have been exemplary through this crisis,” said Brian Crawford, Willis-Knighton Health System Chief Administrative Officer. 

“Even though it’s been challenging for everybody, it’s made the Willis Knighton Health system stronger and more resilient. It’s actually reshaping not only our health system, but it’s reshaping the health system of America and in the world really. I think Willis Knighton is doing really well with keeping up with these changes and being able to adapt to this new normal,” he added.

When the first and second waves of elevated COVID-19 cases hit our area, Willis-Knighton Health System saw anywhere between 80-100 COVID-19 patients each time throughout the system.

Willis-Knighton Health System has seen more than 60% of inpatient COVID patients in Northwest LA throughout the pandemic and currently. They are currently ranked in the top 5 hospitals in the state with COVID-19 patients.

“From the second wave from July 1 through July 31, Willis Knighton Health System averaged 75 COVID-19 inpatients daily. And, we had a high of 96 patients on July 24. From Aug. 1 through Aug. 8, we were still averaging about 76 COVID patients daily with a high of about 83 patients on Aug. the 5,” Crawford said.

“During that first wave, those that were tested by Willis Knighton, the major age groups that we found that were positive at that time [March 15-May 30], fell between the ages of 41-70. So, in the second wave, June 1- Aug 5, the trend shifted to younger ages 18-40 years old,” he added.