Waiting for Corona

Connecticut is up to 11 confirmed cases, but none in the Hartford area yet. This is a bit misleading as my understanding is very few people have been tested in our state (The Hartford Courant reports 136 have been tested) due a shortage of test kits and the start up time it takes new labs to set up.

I worked in the city today and it was quiet. The hospital waiting rooms were not crowded at all, which is unusual. I saw a Park Street bus go down the street with not a passenger on it, but the streets weren’t empty. The same people who always stand on the corners were at their posts. There was plenty cars driving about, a few with masked drivers.

Before we went on the road we had to checkoff our protective gear – two full isolation packages, four N95 masks, surgical masks, two eye protection glasses, decon wipes, and hand sanitizer.

I talked to two homeless heroin users today. One said she was very worried about the virus. She said she was trying to wash her hands whenever she could; the other just shrugged. Corona was the last of her concerns. She still needed a few dollars to buy her next bag of dope.

My last call of the day was for a woman with a sudden onset of body aches, chills, and nausea with dry heaves. Her skin was hot and her heart was banging away at 120. She had no foreign travel, and no one she knew was sick. I asked every question I could think of to elicit some information that might reveal that she met Corona criteria, but I struck out. I gave her some fluid and four mgs of Zofran. I suppose if she ends up having had COVID-19, someone will be letting me know.

The foreign travel question is going to have to change with all the reports of Americans getting Corona without any foreign contacts. Pretty soon, the question is going to be “Have you left your house at all in the last 14 days?”

At one of the hospitals this afternoon, the ED staff was screening two people in a car. The passengers each had mask ons, and the doctor was fully gowned up with a face shield, and the nurse had a N95 mask as well as full body protection. The doctor had a clipboard and the nurse had a portable BP machine out by the car.

When my shift was over, I stopped by the large Chinese supermarket by our office. The place was sparsely populated with a noticeable number of shoppers wearing masks. I bought some barbecue pork, green vegetables (snow peas and bok choy), dried noodles, and frozen dumplings. Yesterday I went to the local stop and shop and it was in full scale panic. The governor had outlawed any gathering of 250 or more people, but I tell you there were five or six hundred in that store. No chicken. No frozen vegetables. No toilet paper. I didn’t see a single mask.

I’ve been buying steady so we are in good supply at my house. Tonight we stay home and watch TV together.

It may only be a few days till Corona is in our town.

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