Real

Analysis: The Real Tragedy Of Not Having Enough COVID-19 Tests

President Donald Trump said late last month that he hadn’t “heard about testing in weeks.” But today — let’s face it — tests are being rationed in many parts of the country.

Of course, the seriously ill and essential front-line personnel like doctors, nurses and police officers require and deserve to go to the front of the line for testing.

But hundreds of thousands more people should have been tested by now, if only more tests were available. Testing them — and getting results — might have vastly changed their behavior, their self-care at home and (perhaps most important) our understanding of COVID-19, so that when it flares locally we would know how to respond in a more nuanced way, rather than shutting down society.

As of this writing, I know nearly a dozen people who are “presumed COVID.” None of them were tested because they were not sick enough

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‘When It Starts Getting Into Your Local Hospital, It Becomes Real’

The folding chairs outside the windows appeared late last month, after the maintenance staff at St. James Parish Hospital labeled each window with a patient room number so families and friends could at least see their loved ones battling COVID-19.

Yet even this small solace the Louisiana rural hospital can offer is tainted for clinical nurse educator Leslie Fisher. She has to remind the family members to take shifts to properly social distance from one another — even when their loved ones could be in their final moments.

The difficult conversations feel unceasingly cruel, she said, but she feels she has an obligation to protect these people, too. All she can do is look them in the eyes and say, “I’m so, so sorry.”

Folding chairs outside the hospital’s windows allow families and friends to see their loved ones battling COVID-19.

This is the new normal for St. James Parish

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