Hospitals Struggle to Restart Lucrative Elective Care After Coronavirus Shutdowns

“Our hospitals, like every other hospital in the country, are half empty,” said Marvin O’Quinn, the president and chief operating officer for CommonSpirit Health, a Catholic system that operates 137 hospitals across 21 states.

As restrictions ease around the country, some states have begun allowing procedures unrelated to the coronavirus, like knee replacements, colonoscopies and mammogram screenings.

“As anyone waiting for an elective surgery knows, ‘non-urgent’ does not mean ‘minor,’” said Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon in allowing the state’s hospitals to resume business on May 1. “This is incredibly important medical care that we would not have told providers to delay if the threat of Covid-19 had not made it necessary.”

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When Coronavirus Care Gets Lost in Translation

At Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, nearly half of the 126,000 patients in its primary care system have limited English proficiency. The Alliance has 100 staff interpreters who usually work in its emergency rooms and community clinics. Vonessa Costa, director of multicultural affairs and patient services, said that roughly 99 percent of the interpreting work is now remote, with the interpreting staff fielding upward of 1,300 calls per day.

Those circumstances place tremendous stress on the medical interpreters, Ms. Costa said, especially those who live in Boston’s immigrant communities hard-hit by the outbreak. Last week, she heard from a distraught interpreter who had just spent 45 minutes on the phone helping a young Spanish-speaking woman communicate with hospital staff about two critically ill family members, her partner and her mother.

“There is a trauma in interpreting trauma,” Ms. Costa said. “Quite a few interpreters in our department have family members

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C.D.C. Says More Than 9,000 Health Care Workers Have Contracted Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday that 9,282 health care professionals had contracted the coronavirus in the United States as of April 9 and that 27 had died from it.

The agency cautioned that the numbers were most likely higher than reported because of inconsistencies in data-gathering and the lack of information during the outbreak. “This is likely an underestimation,” the report said, because the occupational status of patients was available for only 16 percent of the cases in the United States reported to the C.D.C.

Health care workers are among the most vulnerable groups during the pandemic because of their proximity to infected patients, a situation made worse because some have been working with inadequate protective equipment and clothing resulting from shortages.

The report said that some health care professionals with mild or asymptomatic cases might not have been tested at all.

The 9,282 reported

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