With the Coronavirus cases rising again, small-town hospitals are at risk as the number of patients start to increase. Because of this surplus of cases, there is not enough room in small-town hospitals to be able to treat everyone, so they usually resort to transferring them to big-city hospitals. The problem that lies here is that the big-city hospitals also have to deal with the surplus of patients in their area so it takes longer to get them transferred. According to USA Today’s article, “‘Our neighbors, our family members’: Small-town hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 deaths” Alltucker explains, “Some patients have died waiting for space at big-city hospitals. Six patients died in six days recently; two died within 24 hours last week.” Small hospitals were already financially vulnerable before the pandemic, which makes it even harder for them to handle the patients waiting for space. Small-town hospitals are in need of more workers since it is hard to rely on bigger hospitals to transfer patients to. They were made for primary care and surgeries, not for a global pandemic. Places like North Dakota are at a higher risk, with 108 deaths in the first week of November. Additionally, it is not like other hospitals don’t want to help out. Bigger hospitals lack ICU beds and also have a limited space.
Another problem is that some places like North Dakota allow doctors to keep working if they test positive for Coronavirus, but show no symptoms. Although this may seem effective for the limited amount of workers, it is also very dangerous since there is an even greater risk of spreading it to other healthy nurses or civilians. It is also challenging because many small-town hospitals are located in places where people refuse to wear masks. Mask wearing has been inconsistent worldwide and especially in the United States, where the cases are still skyrocketing. States are starting to mandate masks in public, but some states like South Dakota are still rejecting the mask ordinance. An argument may be that it is “your body, your choice” but also realize that your actions affect other people. Wearing a mask is not just to protect yourself, but others as well that can be more susceptible to catching the virus. To help out the increasing numbers in cases, please try to social distance and wear your mask as much as possible.